Kosovo war crimes court step closer to issuing indictments

ASSOCIATED PRESS
THE HAGUE, Netherlands
Published

A court established to prosecute crimes committed during and immediately after Kosovo's war for independence has approved its rules of procedure and evidence, a crucial step toward prosecutors issuing indictments.

Judge Ekaterina Trendafilova, president of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, said in a statement Wednesday that the court's rules comply with international human rights standards Kosovo's Constitution.

Trendafilova says that "within seven days as of today, there will be no legal impediment to receive any filing or indictment from the Specialist Prosecutor's Office."

The court's prosecutors are investigating allegations made in a Council of Europe report that senior members of the Kosovo Liberation Army ran detention centers where Serbs and other civilian captives were killed and their organs sold on the black market.

Kosovo lawmakers approved the court's creation in 2015.

Kosovo is a former Serbian province with nearly 1.8 million people, over 90 percent of whom were Kosovar Albanians. Kosovar Serbs are the country's biggest ethnic minority with a population numbering around 100,000.

It declared independence on February 17, 2008, and is recognized by over 100 countries, including the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany and Turkey. Serbia, Russia and China are among countries that have not yet recognized Kosovo's independence.

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