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.


Scientific study finds asylum seekers boosting European economies

Updated 58 min 57 sec ago
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Scientific study finds asylum seekers boosting European economies

  • Asylum seekers contributed most to a country’s gross domestic product after three to seven years, the research found
  • The findings come amid a rise of anti-immigrant sentiment across Europe, where immigration peaked in 2015 with the arrival of more than a million refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa

NEW YORK: Asylum seekers moving to Europe have raised their adopted nations’ economic output, lowered unemployment and not placed a burden on public finances, scientists said on Wednesday.
An analysis of economic and migration data for the last three decades found asylum seekers added to gross domestic products and boosted net tax revenues by as much as 1 percent, said a study published in Science Advances by French economists.
The findings come amid a rise of anti-immigrant sentiment across Europe, where immigration peaked in 2015 with the arrival of more than a million refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa.
An annual report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees released on Tuesday showed the global number of refugees grew by a record 2.9 million in 2017 to 25.4 million.
The research from 1985 to 2015 looked at asylum seekers — migrants who demonstrate a fear of persecution in their homeland in order to be resettled in a new country.
“The cliché that international migration is associated with economic ‘burden’ can be dispelled,” wrote the scientists from the French National Center for Scientific Research, the University of Clermont-Auvergne and Paris-Nanterre University.
The research analyzed data from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Asylum seekers contributed most to a country’s gross domestic product after three to seven years, the research found. They marginally lowered unemployment rates and had a near-zero impact of public finances, it said.
Greece, where the bulk of migrants fleeing civil war in Syria have entered Europe, was not included because fiscal data before 1990 was unavailable, it said.
Chad Sparber, an associate professor of economics at the US-based Colgate University, said the study was a reminder there is no convincing economic case against humanitarian migration.
But he warned against dismissing the views of residents who might personally feel a negative consequence of immigration.
“There are people who do lose or suffer,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“Immigration on balance is good,” he said. “But I still recognize that it’s not true for every person.”