HRW: Support to EULEX and special court

Director for Europe of the Human Rights Watch (HRW) Lotte Leicht called on the Kosovo parliament in an open letter to extend the mandate for EULEX and back the constitution of a special court which would stage trials for individuals responsible for allegations included in the report filed by former rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Dick Marty concerning trafficking of organs extracted from imprisoned and kidnapped Serbs and other non-Albanians.

(kosovocompromisestuff) Tuesday, April 15, 2014

“The proposal to establish a special court and extend the EU law mission is Kosovo's chance to advance justice and individual accountability for very serious crimes,” Leicht said in a letter posted on the HRW website.The Kosovo parliament should vote on Thursday on the issues which are subject of a much heated debate in the local public.Up until recently, the Kosovo authorities insisted that a special tribunal should be established in Pristina that would conduct trials against individuals responsible for kidnapping of Serbs, Roma and 'disloyal Albanians' and those behind illegal human organ trafficking, but Brussels decided that the court must be set up outside Kosovo for witness protection reasons.Since the court should formally function as part of the Kosovo justice system though its staff would comprise only international lawyers, the Kosovo parliament needs to adopt new laws.“The parliament should vote yes, to show that it takes the rule of law seriously and is committed to justice for serious abuses,” Leicht stated.She also backed extension of mandate for EULEX as its current mandate is due to expire in June, and the Kosovo parliament should also vote on this mater.Kosovo Prime Minister Hasim Taci requested earlier that EULEX's powers should be drastically reduced in its new mandate but HRW believes that international judges, prosecutors and police officers should remain in Kosovo.”When international judges there say the justice system is not ready to handle sensitive cases, Kosovo's parliament needs to listen and to act on behalf of Kosovo's people to advance protection and justice,” Leicht said.