Congressman Eliot Engel has called on the United States administration to check whether the Kosovo war crimes court in The Hague has operated in a biased way against Albanians, and to stop cooperation with the court if this is confirmed.
“I, therefore, call upon the United States State Department and Justice Department to examine the work of the Special Court to ensure that it is not targeting people due their ethnicity and to halt U.S. support for or cooperation with the Court if it is found to be doing so,” the congressman and Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs stressed in a statement released on Thursday, following the confirmation of war crimes charges against Kosovo President Hashim Thaci.
Engel said the US Congress will closely monitor the work of the court, but added that he has “serious concerns” about the fact that the court is only pursuing Albanians alleged to have committed crimes, and not members of other nationalities.
“I want to be clear: Anyone who commits serious war crimes must be prosecuted, regardless of ethnicity. But, the vast majority of crimes committed in Kosovo during this period were carried out by Milosevic’s army during its genocidal campaign of ethnic cleansing. It raises extremely grave questions that although the law creating the Special Court is ethnically blind, it has only pursued Albanians,” he stated.
Congressman Eliot highlighted that Serbian courts have not held perpetrators of war crimes responsible to account, including the murderers of the three American citizen Bytyci brothers, “even though the perpetrators have been identified and are living in Serbia.”
“I understand that Serbian government and military officials who were involved in the genocide are largely out of the direct reach of the Special Court. But, that doesn’t relieve it of its duties to prosecute offenders to the extent of the law, even in absentia,” Engel stated.