The courtroom at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague during a hearing in the case of Hashim Thaci. Photo: EPA-EFE/JERRY LAMPEN.

Specialist Chambers Criticized Over Closing Hearings and Edited Testimonies

The Kosovar Humanitarian Law Center, FDHK , has revealed its positive and negative findings about the Specialist Chambers, drawn from its monitoring of the Hague court’s proceedings.

Editing of witness testimonies, non-translation of some documentation into Albanian and Serbian and extension of preparatory procedures are some of the criticisms of the Specialist Chambers’ proceedings made by the Kosovar Humanitarian Law Center, FDHK.

Amer Alija, coordinator of FDHK, on Monday said that all the court’s documentation should be translated into Albanian and Serbian as well as English.

As for editing the testimonies of witnesses, Alija says this had complicated the task of monitoring the chamber’s work.

Alija listed some positive remarks as well: in court proceedings, the rights of the parties are maximally respected; documentation is published on the Hague database; and documents issued by these courts are well reasoned.

Angela Griep, head of the chamber’s Information and Public Communication Unit, said the issue of translation was complex.

“It will [the documentation] all be translated into three languages. Some of the records have not been translated into the other two languages ​[Albanian and Serbian],” Griep said.

As for editing testimonies, Grief said that in private hearings, documents should be edited for the protection of witnesses. 

As for the remark about the extension of preparatory procedures, Grief said some had gone faster and some slower, depending on how complex the case is.

Lawyer Artan Qerkini agreed with the complaints, saying that it is an elementary right that each document be translated into Albanian.

Journalist Serbeze Haxhijaj, who deals with transitional justice, raised another issue meanwhile – compensation for victims.

“The bad news is that it [ the court] has not sent a full signal to the victims. It is still unclear about the protection of victims. The Special Court is still not clear whether they will send victims to civil proceedings,” she said.

Grief said nothing can be said about this issue yet, although the Victims Council has recently raised some issues, “and let’s see what the judges decide”.

Two trials are taking place in the Hague-based Specialist Chambers of Kosovo, one against the former KLA commander, Salih Mustafa, and the other against the leaders of the KLA War Veterans Organization, Hysni Gucati and Nasim Haradinaj.

The trial in the Hague has not yet started of the former President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi, the former Chairman of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, Kadri Veseli, the former Speaker of the Assembly of Kosovo, Jakup Krasniqi, and the former Vetëvendosje MP, Rexhep Selimi.

07/02/2022 - 10:24

07 February 2022 - 10:24

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