‘Special Court, far from an efficient legal institution’, interview with Nevenka Tromp

The Special Court is far from an efficient legal institution dealing with war crimes and crimes against humanity, says Nevenka Tromp, who worked for many years at the Hague Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. She emphasizes that this court has many shortcomings in terms of transparency while expressing concern that closed sessions may encourage witnesses to say whatever they want in the court. On the eighth anniversary of the creation of the Special Court, Tromp shows whether there was a strong motive for this decision, as well as what she expects from the trial against “Thaçi and others”.
The lecturer at the University of Amsterdam, says that she understands why the Assembly of Kosovo decided to fulfill the demands of the international community, in particular of the United States, to create the Kosovo Specialist Chambers and transfer them to the Netherlands.
“So, there was a very important political motive for Kosovo’s Assembly and Kosovo leadership that time to comply with America, why? United States has been the most important partner and supporter of Kosovo’s liberation and independence. And Kosovo being still a de-facto state cannot basically permit itself and afford not to have allies such as the United States, in a literature actually United States of America can be seen as a patron state of Kosovo because as still not fully recognized by UN states, Kosovo has certain difficulties to engage in international relations. So, from that point of view, there are explanations and reasons why we outside observers can see the logic why Kosovo’s Assembly took this step in August 2015. But if you now look what this court and how this court has been constituted, what is its statute rules on procedure and the efficiency when it comes to number of indictees, indictments and the number of convictions or judgments so far, then we see that it is far from an efficient legal institution that deals with the most serious of political crimes, war crimes, and crimes against humanity”, said Tromp.
In the Special Court so far there are six people accused of alleged war crimes, Hashim Thaçi, Kadri Veseli, Jakup Krasniqi, Rexhep Selimi, Pjetër Shala and Salih Mustafa, and the latter was sentenced in December of last year in the first degree, with 26 years of imprisonment.
Tromp considers this an extreme example of justice and according to her the sentence is very high compared to the number of alleged victims as well as the period covered by the indictment.
In addition to this concern, Tromp also mentions the closed sessions that are taking place in the “Thaçi and others” case, which started in April of this year.
So far, 15 witnesses summoned by the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office have been heard in this court case, and only two of them have testified without protective measures, unlike the others who, apart from being protected, testified in sessions completely closed to the public.
The woman who wrote the book “The Unfinished Trial of Milosevic”, says that the closed sessions where cases of this format are treated are killers of the international justice system.
She emphasizes that transparency should be treated as one of the most important elements.
Whereas, according to the prosecution, closed sessions are required to protect the witnesses, Tromp says that in this way anyone can come out and say whatever they want in the courtroom, while it is impossible to have criticism from the outside./G .Kadrija