Quint Member States Statement, January 4, 2017
We are deeply concerned by ongoing efforts to undermine the work of the Specialist Chambers, as well as by the December 29 presidential pardons of three individuals convicted of murder in the so-called “Hajra Family Case.” The Chambers, in particular, are an important part of Kosovo´s commitment to the rule of law and Kosovo´s work to address crimes committed on its soil.
The Quint countries have been long-standing and true friends of Kosovo, including at the most difficult times. From our support to the NATO intervention, to the sacrifice of our soldiers in Kosovo, to our early recognition of Kosovo’s independence and our ongoing support to your development, we have worked hard to support your country. Your success is in our interest. However, we will always insist that Kosovo should uphold justice.
There is no reason to stop the work of the Specialist Chambers, and we call on any head of institutional bodies, party leaders, or Member of Parliament to abandon any thought of repealing or re-negotiating any aspect of the Law on the Specialist Chambers. Such a move calls into question Kosovo’s commitment to the rule of law and risks all that Kosovo has achieved. It puts the interests of certain individuals above the interests of Kosovo society. We condemn such a move, and anyone who supports it will be rejecting Kosovo’s partnership with our countries. We urge all Kosovo’s leaders and members of the Kosovo Assembly to speak out against this initiative and honestly inform Kosovo’s citizens of the severe negative consequences, including for Kosovo’s international and Euro-Atlantic integration, if Kosovo continues on this path. At the same time, we expect all states to prosecute or co-operate fully with prosecutions of alleged crimes committed in Kosovo.
The creation of the Specialist Chambers was the only way for Kosovo to demonstrate its commitment to justice and the rule of law and to continue to receive international support. Kosovo has progressed in the last seven years with our help because of its commitment to international justice. The Assembly’s decision in 2015 to create the Specialist Chambers was a clear sign that Kosovo rejected the culture of impunity. There was no deal done between the International Community and Kosovo regarding the creation of the Specialist Chambers.
By U.S. Embassy Pristina