Kosovo will have to provide strong evidence if it decides to sue Serbia for genocide, warned Matthew Palmer, a top US diplomat.
“First thing, they need to have standing, and so that’s an issue that would need to be addressed before a suit could be filed,” the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State told Kosovo’s public broadcaster in an interview on Sunday.
The diplomat stressed that the US would like Kosovo to focus more on the future rather than looking back to the past, and to identify points of commonality with Serbia.
“I don’t think that that approach is going to contribute to the resolution of the disputes, the friction points between Serbia and Kosovo. So what we would like to see, the parties, not just in the Kosovo-Serbia dispute, but really across the region too, is focus less on the past and more on the future,” he said.
However, he added that filing a genocide lawsuit against Serbia is Kosovo’s sovereign decision.
Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, after a brutal war that left thousands of Albanian civilians killed and more than half of the population displaced and expelled by Serbian troops. More than 1,600 Kosovo citizens are still missing.
Prime Minister Albin Kurti has promised to file a genocide lawsuit against Serbia with the United Nation’s International Court of Justice, and preparations are underway.
Meanwhile, the two countries have been engaging in a dialogue to “normalize relations” for nearly 10 years now, with very little success.
Kosovo is recognized by more than 100 states, more than half of the UN members. It wants Serbia’s recognition also, which would open the way for full membership in all international organizations. However, Serbia categorically refuses to grant recognition.