Kosovo court prosecutor vows to protect witnesses

This file photo taken on April 8, 2016 shows Kosovo's President Hashim Thaci looking on during the Presidential inauguration ceremony in Pristina. (AFP)
Updated 15 November 2017
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Kosovo court prosecutor vows to protect witnesses

THE HAGUE: The prosecutor for a special tribunal set up to try crimes committed in the Kosovo conflict in the late 1990s vowed on Tuesday to do everything possible to protect witnesses, who could be “at risk from everything from death to intimidation.”
The Kosovo specialist chambers, funded by the EU and set up in The Hague late last year, was established to investigate and prosecute crimes allegedly committed by top members of the ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) as it battled Serbian forces in the 1998-1999 war.
The accusations were included in a 2010 report to the Council of Europe, and detail claims of assassinations, unlawful detentions and organ trafficking, during and after the Kosovo guerillas’ war of independence.
There has been fierce speculation over who could be targeted by the first indictments, including whether Kosovo’s current president Hashim Thaci, the former political leader of KLA, is on the list.
Prosecutor David Schwendiman again refused to be drawn on any details of who could be targeted or when the first indictments may be issued.
But he acknowledged, during a meeting with reporters in The Hague, that his office was “attuned” to the risks facing potential witnesses.
“We will do everything we can to try and give them the comfort and protection they need to participate,” he said, saying special measures were being taken.


Major powers, Iran meet to salvage nuclear deal without US

European Union Foreign Affairs and Security Policy High Representative Federica Mogherini is seen at the start of a meeting on Libya hosted by France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 24, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 46 min 18 sec ago
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Major powers, Iran meet to salvage nuclear deal without US

  • Highlighting just how difficult it will be for the Europeans to come up with concrete solutions, French state-owned bank Bpifrance on Monday abandoned its plan to set up a financial mechanism to aid French companies trading with Iran

UNITED NATIONS: Iran has ample reason to stay in the 2015 nuclear deal despite the US withdrawal and the remaining parties on Monday will discuss ways to blunt the effect of impending US sanctions on Tehran, the European Union’s foreign policy chief said.
Speaking before a gathering of senior officials from Britain, China, Germany, Russia and Iran, the EU’s Federica Mogherini made the case for Iran remaining in the deal that US President Donald Trump abandoned on May 8.
“An essential part of the agreement and its implementation regards Iran having the possibility of benefiting from the lifting of sanctions, and this is exactly why we are discussing tonight, operational concrete steps that we can put in place,” Mogherini told reporters before the talks at the United Nations.
“Iran has good arguments and good reasons to remain in the agreement. ... the more operational decisions we will manage to take and ... implement, I believe the more Iran will have reasons to do,” she added.
The European Union, however, has so far failed to devise a workable legal framework to shield its companies from US sanctions that go into effect in November and that, among other things, seek to choke off Iran’s oil sales, diplomats said.
Highlighting just how difficult it will be for the Europeans to come up with concrete solutions, French state-owned bank Bpifrance on Monday abandoned its plan to set up a financial mechanism to aid French companies trading with Iran.
The crux of the deal, negotiated over almost two years by the administration of former US President Barack Obama, was that Iran would restrain its nuclear program in return for the relaxation of sanctions that had crippled its economy.
Trump considered it flawed because it did not include curbs on Iran’s ballistic missiles program or its support for proxies in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq.
The United States began reimposing economic sanctions this summer and the most draconian measures, which seek to force Iran’s major customers to stop buying its oil, resume Nov. 5.
Their impending return has contributed to a slide in Iran’s currency. The rial has lost about two-thirds of its value this year, hitting a record low against the US dollar this month.
There are limits to what the EU can do to counter the oil sanctions, under which Washington can cut off from the US financial system any bank that facilitates an oil transaction with Iran.