Kosovo Court in Another Step Toward Indicting War Suspects

Former Yugoslav army chief of staff Gen. Nebojsa Pavkovic, left, and Gen. Vladimir Lazarevic, right, pictured here on Sept. 1, 2000, were among four Serbian generals indicted for atrocities in Kosovo by the United Nations war crimes tribunal. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — A court investigating crimes against ethnic Serbs during and after Kosovo’s 1998-99 independence war with Serbia on Tuesday said it has initiated charges against suspects without giving details.

A prosecutor of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, with headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands, asked the court’s president to assign a pretrial judge because of his “intent to initiate additional proceedings before the Specialist Chambers.”

The statement says the president “assigned a Pre-Trial Judge … to review the new indictment filed by the Specialist Prosecutor,” adding: “The content of indictments are confidential, unless and until confirmed by the Pre-Trial Judge.”

Another identical process was initiated in February. The pretrial judge may take up to six months to review any indictment, its evidence and decide whether to confirm the indictment. Then the suspect is informed of the accusations.

The Kosovo Specialist Chambers has been operating since 2015, questioning a few hundred former ethnic Albanian independence fighters, but hasn’t yet publicly indicted any suspects from the 1999 war that left more than 10,000 dead and 1,640 still unaccounted for. It ended after a 78-day NATO air campaign.

Serbia doesn’t recognize Kosovo’s 2008 independence.

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