Carla del Ponte, the former chief prosecutor for the United Nations tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has expressed her surprise at a new court to deal with alleged war crimes committed at the end of the 1990s in Kosovo, notably an illegal organ trade.
In an interview with Swiss Public Radio, SRF, on Thursday, del Ponte said a new tribunal was not needed and added she was “taken aback” that it would actually be based in Kosovo.
A report into the allegations of organ trading was published by Council of Europe envoy and ex-Swiss senator Dick Marty in December 2010. It was then adopted by the Council of Europe in 2011.
The document was controversial as it alleged that senior Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) commanders, including the current prime minister, Hashim Thaci, had been involved in organised crime and organ trafficking during and after the war.
Kosovo’s parliament decided on Wednesday to set up the new tribunal, which will deal specifically with crimes allegedly committed by the KLA in the country between 1998 and 1999.
Del Ponte said that even though the existing tribunal in the Hague had existed for years, it had struggled with a lack of co-operation from Kosovo.
“Witnesses have to give testimony in court, and when the court is in Kosovo it will be even more difficult than it was in the Hague. Witnesses are threatened and put under pressure,” del Ponte told SRF.
She added that this was a major hindrance to progress.
swissinfo.ch and agencies