When the next school year begins, on September 15, the first trial for war crimes committed in Kosovo during the war of independence will open before a special tribunal in The Hague. The first to stand trial will be Salih Mustafa, a former commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK).
He is being prosecuted, according to the court, for arbitrary detention, cruel treatment and torture of at least six civilians in a detention center in April 1999 in Zllash, Kosovo, in addition to the murder of a prisoner.
Mustafa’s trial will begin with a speech by the prosecutor and victims’ counsel, the court said. The first witnesses will be heard from September 20.
Also affected are former Kosovo president and former political leader of the KLA, Hashim Thaçi – who resigned on November 5, 2020 after his indictment, as well as three other suspects who will also face war crimes charges. and crimes against humanity allegedly committed between 1998 and 1999. The date of their trial is not yet known.
The Special Tribunal for Kosovo (KSC) is a Kosovar body of law composed of international judges and charged with investigating crimes committed by the KLA during and after the conflict, mainly against Serbs, Roma and Kosovar guerrilla opponents.
Created in 2015, this special court sits in the Netherlands to protect witnesses who are subject to pressure and threats.
As a reminder, the conflict (1998-1999), which left 13,000 dead, pitted, in what was at the time a province in southern Serbia, the independence guerrilla against the Serbian forces.