Kosovo Lawmakers Approve War Crimes Court

By RFE/RL's Balkan Service

April 23, 2014Kosovo's parliament on April 23 approved the establishment of an international court to deal with alleged crimes committed by ethnic Albanian guerrillas during the 1998-1999 war with Serbia.

Most of Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leaders were reluctant to approve the special court.

But the European Union, which is heavily involved in Kosovo's development, had pressured politicians to back creation of a tribunal to address allegations of crimes committed by the ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).

A 2011 report by Dick Marty, a special rapporteur for the Council of Europe, alleged that the KLA was responsible for abductions, beatings, summary executions, and in some cases, the removal of human organs, of non-Albanian prisoners, including ethnic Serbs and Roma.

The report has stirred strong emotions in Kosovo, where many consider KLA guerrillas to be heroes of the Serbian war.

More than 100 countries, including the U.S. and most of the EU member states, have recognized Kosovo's independence from Serbia proclaimed in 2008.

Serbia, backed by Russia, refuses to recognize independence, but has nevertheless moved to improve ties with Kosovo for the sake of integration with the EU.

With reporting from AFP