Shpend Limoni at Pristina daily Gazeta Express asked some questions this morning about the defeat in the Kosovo parliament of the much-discussed proposal for a special court to prosecute some war crimes cases. Here in English are his questions and my replies:
Q: Kosovo rejected the creation of Special Court on yesterday’s vote in Parliament. US Ambassador Samantha Power a couple of days ago said that this issue would be a test for Kosovo leader’s credibility. Is there any consequence that Kosovo will face in the future?
A: Yes. At the very least, Kosovo will be seen as unwilling to administer justice to those who sullied the reputation of the Kosovo Liberation Army by committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and murder. For a country seeking international recognition and acceptance, that is not good.
There is nothing patriotic about such crimes—a Kosovo patriot should want to see the perpetrators brought to justice.
I hasten to add that it is not easy to do that. It is still too difficult for the Kosovo judicial system, which in any event has no jurisdiction over crimes committed in Albania. There is no realistic possibility of a serious prosecution in Kosovo.
Q: Prime Minister Mustafa and his Deputy Hashim Thaçi said that issue of Special Court would be on Kosovo Assembly agenda soon rejecting the creation of Tribunal by UN. Is it to late for Mustafa and Thaçi?
A: My understanding is that the constitutional amendment required failed to get a two-thirds majority by just five votes. That could change tomorrow if the political will can be found.
Q: US ambassador in Prishtina Tracey Ann Jacobson on here first reaction said that US won’t put veto against initiatives to establish a Tribunal under UN mandate. Do you think such Tribunal will be imposed?
A: Foreign Minister Thaçi said it well in Parliament: “We have two options: to create this court ourselves, together with the EU and U.S., and to end this issue once and for all in three to five years; or we fail and it will go to the U.N. Security Council where the court will be created by the opponents of Kosovo independence and will last 15 to 20 years.”
The sad fact is that Kosovo in the future will find it difficult to get many kinds of help from the US and EU if this decision stands.