Exclusive | Former head of OSCE on KLA war crimes charges: Kosovo and Serbia are not being treated equally

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The former head of the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission, William Walker, said during an interview with Euronews Albania reporter Bruna Çifligu, that the former KLA commanders are being “treated unfairly” at The Hague because their ultimate objective was the liberation of their country.  

According to him, the term “terrorist” is more fit to describe Arkan’s army and paramilitary, rather than the KLA.

“KLA is exactly what that title stands for. It was a group of young people mostly, who decided they were tired of the oppression and the war crimes being committed by the government in Belgrade. They took up arms to defend themselves, to defend their villages, to defend their families and that resulted in a war”.

“I think that would be a rather strange use of the word terrorist to describe the KLA. If I were to use the word terrorist I would say that was the denomination I would give to the Serbian armed forces, the police, the paramilitaries, and guys like Arkan and groups of militia who did some horrible things in Kosovo”, said Mr Walker.

Ambassador Walker, a witness of the Reçak Massacre that changed the course of Kosovo’s history, said that Kosovo and Serbia are not being treated equally, as Serbia which is standing on the losing side of the war is not being held accountable for the atrocities committed in Kosovo.

“The Special Prosecutor Office is claiming that the atrocities and war crimes were committed by the KLA and they’re trying to prosecute a few people who they have identified as being cuplable. What we’re talking about is so far 5 who have gone to The Hague, including President Thaçi and the former speaker of parliament, Kadri Veseli”.

“One was actually a field commander, Jakup Krasniqi, who I knew and met several times during the war. He wasn’t a fighter in my estimation, he was a spokesperson for the KLA and Thaçi was obviously not fighter, he was the political head of the organization.   

And to hear about a 7-hour long raid into their homes, even more time at the Krasniqi home, I just find the whole process quite strange, Walker said.

According to the former head of the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission, one person who has never been accused throughout the years is the former minister of Milosevic and current President of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić.

“To me, there has been no similar effort on the Serb side. We just had an election in Serbia where Mr. Vučić came out doing very well and he was doing the propagandas at the time, he was Milosevic’s information minister, during the worst time of the genocide”, recalled Walker.

“I have heard of no one accusing him on anything, in any sort of legal formal process and I just find the situation very asymmetrical. The two sides are being treated quite differently.  The irony is that it was the winning side that is paying the price and the losing side, Serbia, is not being held accountable for the horrific crimes it committed, and the people of my mission witnessed,” said ambassador Walker.  

 

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