The Specialist Prosecutor’s Office set up to prosecute alleged war crimes committed by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) during 1998-2000 is expected to proceed with its first indictments next year, according to a document which the TV channel T7 got hold of.
A report of the Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office, the then acting Specialist Prosecutor, Kwai Hong Ip, implies that the first indictments are expected to be filed after six months. “Next year is very important for the Prosecutor’s Office because our so far investigation will proceed further,” it is stated in the report dubbed as the “First Report.” Currently the Prosecutor’s Office is verifying the data of the Special Investigative Task Force (SITF) who have collected 70 thousand documents with over 700 thousand pages. The Specialist Prosecutor’s Office in its report says that they are carefully reviewing all the materials collected by the SITF since 2012. It is also stated a large number of people have been involved in collecting these information. In the report it is clarified that filing of the indictments is the exclusive right of the Specialist Prosecutor. In May the US prosecutor, Jack Smith, has been appointed Specialist Prosecutor after a selection process organised by the European Union. He succeeded David Schwendiman the first Specialist Prosecutor who stepped down at the end of March when his term as a US Foreign Service Officer expired. International media reported that his resignation might delay filing of the first indictments noting that the special war crimes court on Kosovo is ready to file the first indictments.
Following this Report, the European Union decided to establish a Special Investigative Task Force (SITF) in September 2011, to conduct an independent criminal investigation into the allegations contained in the Report, as well as other crimes connected to those allegations.
The Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor's Office have jurisdiction over crimes against humanity, war crimes and other crimes under Kosovo law in relation to allegations reported in the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Report of 7 January 2011. In summer of 2014, the SITF announced that the evidence investigated was of sufficient weight to file an indictment.
The Kosovo Assembly adopted the Law on Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor's Office, following the Exchange of Letters between the President of Kosovo and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy in 2014. The Specialist Chambers are attached to each level of the court system in Kosovo – Basic Court, Court of Appeals, Supreme Court and Constitutional Court. They function according to relevant Kosovo laws as well as customary international law and international human rights law.