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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)
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.

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