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Kosovo war crimes court to be based at The Hague to help protect witnesses

A special court is being set up in The Hague to prosecute those accused of committing war crimes during Kosovo’s war of independence, said the Dutch government.

A statement released by the Dutch said the court will "try serious crimes allegedly committed in 1999-2000 by members of the Kosovo Liberation Army against ethnic minorities and political opponents."

“This is a sensitive issue in Kosovo,” acknowledged the statement. “Possible suspects may be seen by sections of Kosovan society as freedom fighters, and witnesses may feel threatened in Kosovo. This is why the option of trying cases outside Kosovo was explored.”

“It is important for justice to be done,” said Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders. “So we are pleased to be able to offer the court a home.”

Mayor of The Hague Jozias van Aartsen welcomed the court saying “as long as there is no justice, there can be no truly lasting peace”. “That’s why it’s of the utmost importance that this court can do its work here in our city,” he said.