Ban urges establishment of special court for KLA crimes
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged the Kosovo authorities and the EU to establish, by early 2015 at the latest, a special court to deal with war crimes committed in Kosovo by the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in 1999.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
"I strongly urge the Kosovo authorities, as well as the supporting European Union structures, to ensure that a specialist court is in place by early 2015," Ban said in the latest report on the situation in Kosovo, to be presented to the UN Security Council on August 25.The report unveiled on July 29 by Clint Williamson, Chief Prosecutor of the Special Investigative Task Force for KLA crimes, "is essential not only for sustaining fundamental principles of international justice but also for combating impunity and ensuring accountability," the UN Secretary-General said.He also thanked the leadership of the European Union "for fully committing the political and financial resources to complete this process."In the report for the period from April 16 and July 15, published on the UN website, Ban noted that "the strong commitments by Belgrade and Pristina to make progress along the path to European integration, coupled with continued active engagement by the European Union, have proved to be critical driving forces towards the critical objective of normalising relations between Belgrade and Pristina."Ban welcomed the formation of the new government of Serbia, headed by Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, on April 29, noting "with appreciation the early reaffirmation by the new government of its commitment to the continuation of the European Union-facilitated high-level dialogue with Pristina and full implementation of the agreements reached in 2013."Taking note that no high-level meetings were held in the period from mid-April to mid-July due to pre-and post-electoral processes in Belgrade and Pristina, he encouraged both sides to "resume such meetings at the earliest opportunity.""Full and faithful implementation of the 19 April 2013 Agreement, in accordance with the implementation plan of 22 May 2013, should provide the context for addressing other outstanding issues through continued high-level engagement by Belgrade and Pristina in the European Union-facilitated dialogue," Ban said in the report.He gave a positive assessment of the process of the elections for the Assembly of Kosovo, in particular of the participation of Kosovo Serbs in northern Kosovo. adding that "the ensuing post-electoral negotiations have represented another important test of the political maturity of the Kosovo institutions."
"Their efficient conclusion is essential so that a new leadership in Pristina can proceed expeditiously to address key challenges, including the reform of the electoral system and the political dialogue with Belgrade," he said.Condemning the June 23 violence in South Mitrovica, Ban said that "it remains essential that unilateral actions and inflammatory rhetoric be avoided, in order to help maintain an atmosphere conducive to the successful continuation of the dialogue"."This incident is a stark reminder that the path to reconciliation between communities is long and arduous. It also highlights the need for all sides to translate on the ground the progress reached by leaders in Brussels," he saidIn the report, Ban also welcomed the formation of the new municipal assemblies and the adoption of municipal statutes by the Serb-majority municipalities in northern Kosovo."Together with the successful conduct of municipal and legislative elections throughout Kosovo, these positive developments represent critical steps towards the establishment of an association/community of Serb majority municipalities in Kosovo in the future, as envisaged in the 19 April 2013 Agreement," he said.Ban's report also includes a report by the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton on the activities of the Eulex mission in Kosovo. Annex II of Ashton's report includes Chief Prosecutor Williamson's report on crimes committed by the KLA.