Questions Raised over Victims’ Representation at Kosovo War Court

However, in what is seen as an attempt to make the proceedings more efficient and limit costs, because hundreds of victims are expected to participate in the trials at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, the court has not given the victims the right to choose their own legal representatives.

In the case against Thaci and his co-defendants, who went on trial in April, concerns have been raised because the court decided in 2021 to appoint just one lawyer as a legal counsel to represent all of the 140 victims - a lawyer who is not from the former Yugoslavia or any of the main ethnic communities in Kosovo.

"It doesn't seem serious to me," said one of the relatives of the Serb man who disappeared in 1999, who has been granted anonymity the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, as have all those given victim status by the court.

"I don't know what will happen or how it's going to go," the relative told BIRN in April.

The relative of another Serb civilian listed as abducted in 1998 in the indictment of Thaci and his co-defendants was also granted victim status by the court.

"It is important to me, like everyone else, that we find out the final truth once and for all and, if possible, bury the remains of our people," the relative told BIRN.

The relative claimed that they had not yet had any direct contact with the victims' counsel.

All victims 'subjected to similar crimes'

Yugoslav Army soldiers wave from their tanks as they leave Kosovo in June 1999. Photo: EPA-PHOTO/EPA/ANJA NIEDRINGHAUS.

There are 234 lawyers that are eligible to practice before the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, meaning they can be assigned or appointed to suspects, defendants and/or a group of victims. According to the court's...

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