It has divided the entire Kosovo Assembly. Perhaps even Kosovar society. It has shaken the suit and tie brigade of some of those today sitting at the top of institutions, with a floating threat over their heads of potential sentences for war crimes.
The Specialist Chambers, set up to judge war crimes commenced or committed in Kosovar territory between 1998 and 2000, have also provoked a feeling of discomfort among Kosovars; many have voiced a sense of injustice at what they see as an ethnic-based court set up only to try crimes allegedly committed by Albanians (which other institutions have already had the mandate to try), while pointing to limited success in The Hague based ICTY in punishing the crimes committed by Milosevic’s paramilitary and regular forces. Some though, also see the Specialist Chambers as an opportunity to free Kosovar institutions, especially, of some warlords and the culture of nepotism built around them.
Despite an ongoing PDK-led initiative to take the Specialist Chambers off the table, the courts are already set up and ready to start indictments sometime after Independence Day. So, it seems that the Specialist Chambers are a deal done and it’s time now to move the debate forward. How can Kosovo take ownership of the Specialist Chambers and its ramifications? What can the proceedings bring to the country as a whole? How can Kosovars ensure that, regardless of opinion on whether they should exist or not, the mechanism brings justice to those who have become used to impunity?
We’re gathering with some of the most relevant voices and opinions in this regard, to move the discussion beyond the “yes-or-no” question on the Specialist Chambers. To have a participative and open discussion about it, join K2.0 on Wednesday, January 31, at 18:00, at the cozy Klubi M. We will be joined by:
- Drita Hajdari, Kosovo’s Special Prosecutor
- Bekim Blakaj, director of the Humanitarian Law Center in Kosovo
- Glauk Konjufca, deputy in the Kosovo Assembly and head of the Vetevendosje parliamentary group
- Abelard Tahiri, Minister of Justice
The discussion will be moderated by Nora Ahmetaj, former member of RECOM, the regional commission for the establishment of facts about war crimes and other serious violations of human rights committed in the former Yugoslavia from January 1, 1991 until December 31, 2001.K
Feature image: Majlinda Hoxha & Atdhe Mulla / K2.0.