Not for the first time the international community is wrong about Kosova
By Harry Bajraktari
The Special Court has now indicted a number of leaders of Kosova liberation war, including President Hashim Thaçi and two former chairmen of parliament.
Whether you supported or not President Hashim Thaçi as a politician, there is no doubt that his decision to resign from his post and face the charges are commendable. His political ally and new leader of PDK, Kadri Veseli has done the same thing. The Court has nevertheless used the force again this time against the former Speaker Jakup Krasniqi, although there was zero risk of flight.
All Kosova leaders who have ever been investigated or indicted by any tribunal have shown up, have cooperated, and have refused to run and hide.
This is because they have nothing to fear. Our fight for independence was just and clean. No one can rewrite history and efforts to equate the war crimes of Serbia’s invading army and colonizing oppressive regime with Kosova’s resistance and the freedom fight are bound to fail.
We cannot underline enough the behavior of Kosova leaders compared with that of the leaders of Serbia. From Milosevic, to Mladic, they all tried to hide and escape. They were sent to The Hague against their wish. They refused to cooperate with the investigations and showed that they were aware and determined to hurt defenseless civilians to accomplish their chauvinist goals. This continues to this day. Many high officials in Serbian government and army have been involved in war crimes and crimes against humanity. No one is going after them.
More than 20 years later justice has not been done for the war crimes in Kosova.
No one is going after those who committed more than 20 thousand rapes in Kosova. No one is going after those who killed thousands of civilians and then transported the body of the dead to hide them in Serbia. No one is going after those who killed the three Bytyçi brothers, although they were US citizens.
Who is being targeted instead by this Specialist Chamber? Only ethnic Albanians from Kosova. If you invaded a country and terrorized a population, you are not at risk from any form of justice. If you led a resistance against these war crimes than your fight will be put under microscope.
Congressman Eliot Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said best today: “It raises extremely grave questions that although the law creating the Special Court is ethnically blind, it has only pursued Albanians.” He promised the US Congress will continue to monitor the activity of this Court.
Kosova’s institutions should do the same. This Court was created by the Parliament of Kosova and its work should be monitored by the Parliament of Kosova as well.
As I have said it before the KLA members, whose leaders are targeted by the Specialist Chamber, did not go to Belgrade or other Serbian cities to fight and kill people. The Serbian military machine and paramilitary thugs came to them. To their homes, to their families, to their lives to perpetrate genocide. Serbia was the aggressor and these trials cannot change that historic truth.
Until now the entire activity of this Specialist Court has been one-sided. Not for the first time the international community has taken the wrong approach. Throughout the 1990s they left Kosova in the mercy of Milosevic’s regime hoping that the issue would go away. Now, they are dismissing the true criminals in Belgrade and are focusing on those who took the arms to defend their homes and their people. The real victims of war in Kosova are still waiting for justice.
Harry Bajraktari is founder and publisher of Illyria newspaper (1991-1998), an Albanian-American community leader, philanthropist and recipient of many awards, including the Honor of the Nation Order by the President of Albania, Kosova’s Presidential Medal for Merits & the White House Presidential Call to Service Award.