First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dacic met today Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court to prosecute KLA war crimes David Schwendiman.
Specialized Prosecutor’s Office will investigate allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed between 1998 and the end of 2000 in Kosovo and Metohija, and referred to in Dick Marty’s report submitted to the Council of Europe in 2011.
The Special Prosecutor’s Office headed by Mr. Schwendiman was established on 1 September 2016, with the seat located in The Hague and currently having 35 staff and plans to increase it to 65.
Prosecutor Schwendiman emphasized that this was his first tour of the region while serving in this capacity, within which he also visited Pristina, with the aim to present himself to the competent representatives of relevant institutions of the Government of the Republic of Serbia with whom he would work together in the future and announced that he expected assistance when requesting cooperation on specific cases. In particular, he pointed out that, as a professional, he would be responsible for translating the past period of work on investigations, which had lasted for more than four years, into concrete indictments and completing his work. Furthermore, he expressed his belief that the victims and survivors needed to feel that justice had been served and should be treated with respect. The support for opening the Special Prosecutor’s Office in Belgrade is expected as well as access to relevant documents and witnesses.
Minister Dacic pointed out that the Serbian government supported the work of the Court and the Prosecutor’s Office for War Crimes. He stressed that he believed that the establishment of these institutions was a form of meeting the requirements of the Republic of Serbia to investigate crimes committed against Serbs during the conflict in the former SFRY even-handedly and equally, which had not been the case so far. He pledged logistical and legal support to the Prosecutor’s Office, with the expectation that the operative part of the process would begin as soon as possible.
The meeting was attended by Mr. Veljko Odalovic, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and President of the Commission on Missing Persons, who talked with Prosecutor Schwendiman about his experience and knowledge while working with families of missing persons. The Prosecutor asked the President of the Commission to convey to these people his interest and commitment.