Sun, Jun 28, 2015 - Page 5 News List

Kosovo fails to alter constitution on war crime court

AFP, PRISTINA

Members of the opposition congratulate each other after a constitutional amendment was rejected in the Kosovar parliament in Pristina on Friday.

Photo: Reuters

Kosovo’s parliament on Friday failed to adopt the constitutional amendments needed for the creation of a special court that would handle war crimes allegedly committed by former ethnic Albanian guerrillas.

Only 75 lawmakers in the 120-seat parliament supported the amendments which would have allowed the establishment of the court dealing with accusations of war crimes committed during and after the 1998 to 1999 Kosovo War. The change of the constitution had to be backed by a two-thirds majority in parliament.

Pristina has been under intense international pressure to create the special court ever since a 2011 Council of Europe report alleged crimes, including abductions, summary executions and — most controversially — the trafficking of prisoners’ organs by Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) members during the war.

The report by the council’s special rapporteur Dick Marty said the KLA had abused, tortured and killed 500 prisoners, mostly ethnic Serbs and Roma.

The KLA guerrillas are still considered heroes among Kosovo’s majority ethnic Albanian population of almost 2 million.

The war ended with a NATO-led air campaign which forced Serbian forces to withdraw from the territory in June 1999. Kosovo unilaterally proclaimed independence from Serbia in 2008.

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