Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaçi has informed the Parliament that the mandate of the special court and prosecution office on war crimes will last as stipulated in the Constitution.
In a video message on Monday, Thaçi said he had informed the Parliament that the mandate of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office will last until the Council of the European Union decides to end it.
Thaçi said Kosovo should allow for this because of the EU and US support to end the war with Serbia.
The Constitution of Kosovo has foreseen a minimum 5-year-mandate for the special court, which can be extended indefinitely until the European Council decides to end it. The 5-year-mandate of the court ends in 2020.
Kosovo Liberation Army veterans have raised concerns about the court indicting only Albanians, and have been pressuring the parliament not to extend its mandate, particularly since the publication of indictments against Hashim Thaçi and Kadri Veseli.
Thaçi’s statement today is just a literal reading of the Art.163/13 and /14 of the Amendment to the Constitution regarding the special court, i.e. that extension of the court’s mandate does not depend on the Kosovo parliament but it’s automatically extended:
The mandate of the Specialist Chambers and the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office shall be for a period of five (5) years, unless notification of completion of the mandate in accordance with Law No. 04/L-274 occurs earlier.
In the absence of notification of completion of the mandate under paragraph 12, the mandate of the Specialist Chambers and the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office shall continue until notification of completion is made in accordance with Law No. 04/L-274 and in consultation with the Government.
The Law 04/L-274 stipulates that the mandate “shall continue until such time as Kosovo is notified by the Council of the European Union that the investigations have been concluded or any proceedings resulting in therefrom have been concluded.”
The president said he is positive he will get the support of deputies, although the parliament does not have a say in the extension of the court’s term.
He slammed the international community’s “silence” on Serbia’s crimes, which according to him amounts to “an amnesty for Serbia’s genocide”.
Thaçi stressed that former KLA members have been investigated and indicted by several international courts in the last two decades, and the last indictments will also show the righteousness of their struggle to defend the country.
The president called for politics not to interfere with justice, and vice versa.