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EU appoints 19 international judges to special court in Kosovo

[JURIST] The European Union on Tuesday appointed [press release] 19 international judges for a special court in Kosovo that will prosecute war crimes committed between January 1, 1998, and December 31, 2000. Twelve of the judges come from countries within the EU and countries such as the US and Canada. The President of the Specialist Chambers, Dr Ekaterina Trendafilova, expressed satisfaction with those selected saying that she believes that they, "without any doubt—will greatly contribute to our mandate of ensuring fair and efficient justice." She stated that she plans to convene the judges soon so that they can adopt the Rules of Procedure and Evidence.

Last year the Dutch government announced [JURIST report] the establishment of a special court being set up in The Hague to investigate and try alleged war crimes committed by ethnic Albanian rebels during and after Kosovo's 1998-99 guerilla war. War crimes committed during the Kosovo War had been prosecuted in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, but relations between Serbia and Kosovo remain strained. In July of last year, 11 Kosovo Albanian men were sentenced [JURIST report] to prison for war crimes. In February 2014 Serbia's war crimes court convicted [JURIST report] nine former paramilitaries for their involvement in the genocide of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo in 1999. Two former Serbian secret service officials were arrested [JURIST report] under suspicion that they planned the 1999 killing of an anti-government journalist. In 2013 Amnesty International accused [JURIST report] the UN Mission in Kosovo of failing to adequately investigate war crimes committed during the conflict. Kosovo held its first local elections [JURIST report] in November 2013 since it seceded from Serbia in 2008. Serbia still does not recognize the secession.

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