The Kosovo Specialist Chambers [official website] on Monday adopted Rules of Procedure and Evidence [press release], less than two months after the justices were appointed. The adoption of the rules brings the court to the brink of being operable. The matter now shifts to the Constitutional Court of Kosovo [court website] to decide the legality of the adopted procedures. The court will have 30 days to decide on the issue, and, if affirmed, the Kosovo Specialist Chambers will become a functioning court. The Chamber also adopted two other documents important to the functioning of the court. The Code of Judicial Ethics [materials] regulates the professional standard of the justices and provides measures in cases of misconduct. Also adopted were the Rules on the Assignment of Specialist Chambers Judges [materials], which assign justices to specific panels within the chambers.
The court was established to prosecute war crimes stemming from the conflict of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Last month the EU appointed [JURIST report] 19 International judges to the Specialist Chambers, effectively beginning the creation of the court. The court will serve a vital need, as suspected war criminals continue to be prosecuted in the region. In January Kosovo indicted [JURIST report] an ex-guerrilla for war crimes committed in connection with Serbian forces. Also in January a French Court of Appeals ordered the release of the ex-PM [JURIST report] of Kosovo, with orders to stay in the country, until it reviewed an extradition order from Serbia.