President Biden Urged to Move Hague War Court to Kosovo

The Atlantic Association, an organisation representing Albanian-Americans who describe themselves as "proud former KLA [Kosovo Liberation Army] soldiers", sent a letter to US President Joe Biden on Wednesday urging him to intervene to shift the Hague-based Kosovo Specialist Chambers war crimes court to Kosovo itself.

"Kosovo is a sovereign country and should administer justice and its judicial system itself," the letter said.

The Kosovo Specialist Chambers, which will try former KLA fighters for wartime and post-war crimes committed between 1998 and 2000, are part of Kosovo's justice but located in the Netherlands and staffed by internationals.

They were set up in The Hague, under pressure from Kosovo's US and EU supporters, in an attempt to prevent interference with witnesses that has marred previous trial of former KLA guerrillas.

The so-called 'Special Court' is widely resented by Kosovo Albanians, who see it as an attempt to tarnish the KLA's war for liberation from Serbian rule.

It became even more controversial when former President Hashim Thaci and ex-speaker of parliament Kadri Veseli, both senior KLA figures during the war, were arrested and sent to The Hague last year to face charges.

The head of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, Ekaterina Trendafilova, warned in February that attempts by Kosovo politicians to move the court from the Netherlands to Pristina, or pardon anyone convicted by it, might affect witnesses' safety.

"This certainly will put at stake the life, safety and security of people who have or will be willing to cooperate with us. Such changes would, certainly, have a chilling effect on witnesses, who may no longer want to appear," Trendafilova told European diplomats in a confidential briefing...

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