HLCK publishes its annual report: “War Crimes Trials: slow progress”
On Monday 26 April 2021, the Humanitarian Law Center Kosovo (HLCK) published its 2020 Report: “War Crimes Trials: Slow Progress”, which was compiled as a result of monitoring of trials related to armed conflict, as well as ethnically and politically motivated crimes committed in Kosovo.
To mark the occasion of this publication, HLCK organized an online conference which hosted a debate on the topic “Reducing the space for impunity: “Dialogue as an opportunity for legal cooperation between Serbia and Kosovo “.The introductory remarks at the conference were presented by Minister of Justice, Ms. Albulena Haxhiu, Head of the EU Office in Kosovo Mr. Tomáš Szunyog and the British Ambassador in Kosovo Mr. Nicholas Abbott.
The Minister of Justice, Albulena Haxhiu, said that the ministry she led would be addressing war crimes as a matter of priority. In this context, she said that it was very important to strengthen the capacities of the Special Prosecution to address these crimes. The Head of the EU Office in Kosovo, Tomáš Szunyog said that EU had supported this process for some time now and that monitoring of these hearing sessions was of fundamental importance to ensure their legitimacy.
He stated that thanks to the HLCK’s annual report, there was now an accurate summary of what the justice system had achieved during 2020. The British Ambassador in Kosovo, Nicholas Abbott, emphasized that an increase in the number of prosecutors handling these cases had been noticed and this was a progress, though there was still much to be done.After the introductory remarks, the report was presented by Ms. Anka Kurteshi Hajdari, who is also its author. Among other things, she stressed that one of the main recommendations contained in the latest HLCK report pointed to the need to establish international legal cooperation between Kosovo and Serbia.The following panel members presented their views in the session entitled “Reducing the space for impunity: Dialogue as an opportunity for legal cooperation between Serbia and Kosovo”: SPRK Chief Prosecutor Blerim Isufaj, the Acting President of the Basic Court in Prishtina Arben Hoti, the Head of the Legal and Human Rights Office at EULEX Paul Flynn, the HLC founder Nataša Kandić and the attorney at law Artan Qerkini.
Representatives of the Kosovo judiciary in this panel mentioned the challenges they were facing in prosecuting war crimes cases, while other panelists offered examples of past cooperation and ideas in terms of opportunities of regional cooperation in the future.