Kosovo Albanians Sceptical About Hague Trial of Liberation Fighters

Sejdi Zymeri's house in the village of Likovc/Likovac is close to where the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA used to have its headquarters in the Drenica region, the guerrillas' wartime heartland.

His house was used as the KLA's main hospital and Zymeri can't hide his emotions when he speaks about the wounded fighters who were treated here - "the one who survived the wounds and the others who died".

Zymeri is furious about the upcoming war crimes trial of four former KLA leaders at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague, which was set up to try crimes committed by members of the wartime guerrilla force.

"This court only exists to humour Serbia. It's just a political creature," he told BIRN.

"But let's see what can be proved," he added.

Posters supporting the accused - Hashim Thaci, Kadri Veseli, Jakup Krasniqi and Rexhep Selimi - have been put up along the road that leads to Likovc/Likovac.

All four men became senior politicians after the war: Thaci became Kosovo's president, Veseli became parliamentary speaker and leader of the Kosovo Democratic Party, Krasniqi was chairman of the national council of the Social Democratic Initiative, NISMA party, and Selimi was the head of the Vetevendosje party's parliamentary group of MPs.

They are accused of bearing responsibility for murders, torture, illegal detentions and other crimes committed at wartime KLA detention centres.

For Zymeri, as for many others in Kosovo Albanians, the so-called 'special court' represents an attack on the KLA's righteous struggle against Serbian oppression. Since it was established, frustration has continued to grow with what is seen as a biased institution that will only try ethnic Albanians while leaving many wartime crimes by Serbs...

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