In addition to three prosecutors to investigate war crimes, an increase in capacity is required


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Only three prosecutors are engaged to investigate cases of war crimes and sexual violence during the war in Kosovo. However, this number is considered insufficient by experts in justice. They say the number should increase. 

In the absence of prosecutors, lawyers see trial in absentia as a possibility, which already exists in the Code of Criminal Procedure, while they see non-cooperation with the Serbian state as another challenge, "Ekonomia Online" reports. 

Lawyer Ardian Bajraktari says that this process is a bit complex, considering that the process was under the responsibility of international authorities. This process is also complicated by the lack of cooperation from Serbia.

"Obviously, war crimes are complex in general, but in the circumstances of our case, they are rather due to the fact that for an extremely long period of time, these have been the competences and responsibilities of international authorities. Also complex is the fact that the northern neighbors have almost no willingness at all to cooperate with the Kosovo authorities to bring to justice all of them, whether they are the order givers or even the executors of war crimes, therefore there is almost no willingness at all. Then the alternative remains the issue of trial in absentia, already with the code of criminal procedure this possibility exists, but additional commitment is required, with special emphasis on the prosecution. As for the issue of institutions within the police, in the last year 2023 we have an increase in the staff of the relevant department that deals with this issue, while as for the prosecution, of course the current department that deals with war crimes investigations has a very small number , namely three prosecutors dealing with this case. Of course, I hope that in the shortest possible period this number will increase, if not double", said Bajraktari. 

The lack of success in bringing those accused of war crimes to justice, the alternative according to Bajraktar remains trial in absentia.

Another lawyer, Yll Zekaj, tells Ekonomia Online that the treatment of war crimes is not taken very seriously by governments. There is also criticism for the lack of a strategy for the investigation of war crimes. 

"In fact, neither this Government nor the previous governments have done enough to deal with the war crimes that happened in Kosovo, to investigate and judge. The same considering the number of prosecutors and the capacities of the Special Prosecutor's Office and the war crimes department to handle such cases. As a number, as a position, there are 4 positions in this department, but in fact we have three prosecutors who are already dealing with war crimes, which is an extremely small number to handle all those crimes that happened in Kosovo. We must bear in mind that we have more than 13 thousand civilians killed, we have more than 1,500 missing and according to various reports we have more than 22 billion damages created by Serbia during the war in Kosovo and all these are potential to be investigated. Even the previous governments and this one have not done anything to deal with them and raise the capacity of the prosecution in this regard. We still do not have a strategy of the Assembly to deal with war crimes, and we have strategies for many other things, but not for war crimes, and it should be one to set the objectives on how to deal with them. these crimes. The number of prosecutors and professional staff within the Prosecutor's Office must be multiplied and we must increase the professional capacity of the police task forces to deal with these issues", stated Zekaj.

Comparing Kosovo to the states of the region that have come out of the war, Zekaj says that they took it very seriously and invested more. While judgment in absence, he does not see strong fruitfulness./EO