The Kosovo Specialist Chambers in the Hague Friday announced the trial of four former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) members is due to begin Monday. The former Prime Minister of the Provisional Government of Kosovo (PGoK), Hashim Thaçi is amongst those who will stand trial. He and his co-conspirators are accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes.
A revised 2023 indictment details the alleged violations. The indictment states the accused “shared a common purpose to gain and exercise control over all of Kosovo by means including unlawfully intimidating, mistreating, committing violence against, and removing those deemed to be opponents.” The indictment updates charges initially brought under a 2020 indictment.
As evidence, the court plans to call 140 witnesses. The witnesses are expected to attest to acts of arbitrary arrest and detention, torture and murder. Many of the alleged acts of violence appear to be ethnically motivated. However, no charges of genocide or ethnic cleansing are present in the indictment.
The alleged violations of international law stem from the Kosovo War in 1998 and 1999. Kosovo, an ethnically Albanian province of the former Republic of Yugoslavia, broke away from Serbia and Montenegro during the war. Fighting between the parties eventually incurred North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) intervention. Kosovo officially declared independence in 2008. Serbia has refused to recognize Kosovo’s sovereignty. Tensions between the two countries flared recently over a car license plate law.