Belgrade-Pristina deal includes amnesty, daily says

Belgrade-Pristina deal includes amnesty, daily says Izvor: N1

The Koha Ditore Pristina daily reported on Friday that some diplomats were “in shock” when learnt that a part of an agreement on normalisation of relations between Belgrade and Pristina included the amnesty for war crimes committed during the 1989-1999 war in Kosovo.

The daily quoted its sources saying they were extremely surprised when Pristina’s officials told them that there was a readiness on both sides for the idea.

Kosovo government adopted on Friday a report on the “achievements and challenges so far” in the Belgrade – Pristina dialogue on normalisation of relations. Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said the report would be presented to the members of the parliament as well, "in a sign of the respect of transparency.”

Diplomatic sources told the daily that the amnesty would apply to both sides that took part in the Kosovo war, and possibly including the abolition of the Special Kosovo war crimes tribunal.

The court, which could indict or call as witnesses current officials in Pristina’s government, was supposed to function under Kosovo law but operate in the Netherlands to reduce the risk of witness intimidation and judicial corruption in Kosovo, British Reuters news agency reported in November 2017.

Ekaterina Trendafilova, the Bulgarian court president, told Reuters in the then interview that “we are fully operational,” though she did not know when the first indictments would be filed.

Asked if anyone in Kosovo would have immunity, she said that “there is no immunity for anyone regardless of their position, and amnesty also cannot apply.”

“(We will be addressing) individual criminal responsibility not related to any organisation, any group or ethnicity,” she told Reuters.

Koha Ditore reported on Friday that Kosovo President Hashim Thaci’s cabinet confirmed the possibility of amnesty within the deal with Belgrade, but did not comment on an eventual abolition of the Special Court.

Pristina’s government and ruling parties did not comment on the news, while the opposition parties said they would be against it, according to the daily.

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