"Witnesses are being killed in Kosovo"
|10 January 2011 | 10:54 | Source: Tanjug, Večernje novosti|
|BELGRADE -- CoE rapporteur Jean Charles Gardetto describes the situation in Kosovo as alarming, stressing especially killings of witnesses.|
"There is no witness protection law, witnesses are killed, hurt and threatened. They are simply not safe," Gardetto told Belgrade daily Večernje Novosti.
Gardetto will submit his report at the session of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly on January 26, only one day after Dick Marty.
In the report titled "The protection of witnesses as a cornerstone for justice and reconciliation in the Balkans," Gardetto claims that names of protected witnesses are made public by the local media and that potential witnesses refuse to testify fearing they will be perceived as traitors.
The Monaco politician also stresses that, without the international community, Kosovo would not be in a position to ensure any kind of protection for endangered witnesses, as the Kosovo police does not have the necessary capacities.
"There are no laws that protect witnesses in Kosovo. There is no protection, and all this in a system where the judiciary is not independent and is seized by corruption," Gardetto told the newspaper.
Gardetto also said that authorities in Belgrade put in place witness protection laws, as well as the necessary capacities at the special war crimes and organized crime court.
"But there are problems with resources. There is also the problem of witnesses learning what protection measures are available to them, and finding a country that will take in those witnesses that need to change their identity and place of residence," noted the Council of Europe rapporteur.