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News Buddy:美歐爭權 科索沃「總統」被控戰爭罪 Kosovo "President" charged with war crimes amidst U.S.-EU power struggle

2020-07-13
■科索沃「總統」薩奇。 資料圖片■科索沃「總統」薩奇。 資料圖片

■龐嘉儀

原文

下文摘錄自香港《文匯報》6月26日報道:

科索沃(Kosovo)「總統」薩奇(Hashim Thaci)被位於荷蘭(Netherlands)海牙(The Hague)的科索沃專家分庭(Kosovo Specialist Chambers)檢察官(prosecutor)控告,於1998至1999年的科索沃戰爭(Kosovo War)中犯下10項反人類罪、戰爭罪及謀殺罪。分析相信今次突然提出的起訴,背後涉及美國與歐盟(European Union)爭奪科索沃事務話事權的角力,華府(Washington, D.C.)原本安排薩奇與塞爾維亞(Serbia)總統武契奇(Aleksandar Vucic)在白宮(White House)舉行和談,企圖推動雙方達成極具爭議的互換領土協議,但這方案遭到歐盟反對。薩奇被起訴後已立即取消赴美之行,令會談難產。

提出起訴的科索沃專家分庭並非國際法院,而是在2015年根據科索沃法律、在歐盟支持下成立的法院。事緣歐洲委員會(European Commission)2011年發表報告,指出薩奇曾經領導的「科索沃解放軍」(Kosovo Liberation Army)在1998至1999年的科索沃獨立戰爭中,涉嫌殺害塞爾維亞族平民及阿爾巴尼亞族(Albania)政敵,歐盟其後於是支持成立專家分庭,專責審理衝突期間案件,並由來自歐洲及美國的專家出任法官及檢察官。

專家分庭檢察官辦公室(Special Prosecutor's Office)早於4月已向包括薩奇在內的10名「科索沃解放軍」前領袖提出起訴(indictment),但延至前日(6月24日)才公布消息。

聲明指,經過長時間調查後,專家分庭檢察官認為,薩奇、科索沃前「國會議長」韋塞利(Kadri Veseli)等人,應對科索沃塞族(Kosovo Serbs)、阿爾巴尼亞族及羅姆族(Roma)的100宗謀殺案承擔刑事責任,並指眾人涉及酷刑及迫害等罪行。

控罪原本需經專家分庭的法官預審後才公布,檢察官解釋,今次決定提前公布控罪,是因為薩奇及韋塞利多次試圖妨礙專家分庭工作,批評兩人將個人私利置於受害者、法治(rule of law)及所有科索沃人民之上。

曾任科索沃最大反對派民主黨(Democratic Party of Kosovo)黨魁的韋塞利否認控罪,並指控相關控罪具政治動機。韋塞利指出,專家分庭提出起訴的時機是在白宮和談前數日,令人難以相信屬巧合(coincidence);他同時指控犯下戰爭罪行的是塞族而非阿爾巴尼亞人,形容控罪是改寫歷史。

在美國前駐德國大使(U.S. Ambassador to Germany)、現任塞爾維亞及科索沃和平談判特使(U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Kosovo and Serbia)格雷內爾(Richard Grenell)牽頭下,薩奇原定周六在白宮與武契奇舉行和談。會談焦點之一是科索沃邊界調整問題,美國近月一直推動塞爾維亞與科索沃互換領土,具體是將塞爾維亞南部的阿爾巴尼亞裔地區劃給科索沃,後者則將北部塞族地區交給塞爾維亞。

不過歐盟一直反對這項安排,擔心會引起其他巴爾幹半島國家(Balkan countries)仿效,導致新一輪衝突,美國歷屆政府原本也不支持,只是現任總統特朗普突然改變政策。

專家分庭公布控罪後,薩奇辦公室隨即宣布取消行程,原定代替他出席的科索沃「總理」霍蒂(Avdullah Hoti),昨日亦表示不會前往華盛頓。格雷內爾則表示,薩奇期望在法律問題妥善處理後才參與和談,尊重對方決定。塞爾維亞方面昨日未表示代表團(delegation)會否如期成行。

科索沃是塞爾維亞一個自治省(autonomous region),於2008年單方面宣布「獨立」(independence),但僅獲美國等一部分西方國家承認,不被塞爾維亞以及部分歐盟成員國認可。

譯文

Kosovo's "President" Hashim Thaci was accused by prosecutors at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague, the Netherlands, for his 10 crimes against humanity, war crimes and murders committed during the Kosovo War from 1998 to 1999. It was believed that the prosecution might arise from the power struggle between the U.S. and European Union (EU) for a say in the Kosovo's affairs. The Washington, D.C. originally planned to engage both Thaci and the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in peace talks at the White House in an attempt to take forward a highly controversial agreement on territorial exchanges, which was opposed by the EU. Yet, the charges targeting Thaci had interrupted his trip to the U.S. and the subsequent talks.

The Kosovo Specialist Chambers is not an international court, but a court established in 2015 under Kosovo law with support from the EU. The European Commission issued a report in 2011 saying that the "Kosovo Liberation Army" once led by Thaci was suspected of killing Serbian civilians and Albanian political opponents in the Kosovo War from 1998 to 1999, and a specialist chamber, with experts from Europe and the U.S. serving as judges and prosecutors, was consequently formed for hearing cases related to the conflicts.

The Special Prosecutor's Office had filed an indictment against 10 former leaders of the "Kosovo Liberation Army" including Thaci in April, but delayed in releasing the details until recent days. The statement said that the special international prosecutor, after a lengthy investigation, believed that Thaci, Kosovo's former "Parliamentary Speaker" Kadri Veseli and others should be criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders targeting Kosovo Serbs, Albanians and Roma, involving criminals such as torture and persecution.

Normally, the charges needed to be confirmed and approved by pre-trial judge before announcement, but the prosecutor explained that the details were released in advance due to Thaci and Veseli's repeated attempts to obstruct and undermine the work of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers, criticizing them for putting their personal interests ahead of the victims of their crimes, the rule of law, and all people of Kosovo.

Veseli, former leader of the opposition Democratic Party of Kosovo, dismissed the charges and accused prosecutors of playing politics. He said the indictment was made a few days before the meeting at the White House, which raised suspicions that this was only coincidence; meanwhile, he claimed that it was the Serbs but not Albanians who committed the war crimes, describing the charges as rewriting history.

As coordinated by Richard Grenell, former U.S. Ambassador to Germany and current U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Kosovo and Serbia, Thaci was originally scheduled to have peace talks with Vucic at the White House on Saturday, with the focal point being the issue of border adjustment in Kosovo. The U.S. had been pushing forward the exchange of territory between Serbia and Kosovo in recent months, advocating the idea of swapping an Albanian region in southern Serbia for mostly ethnic Serb populated parts of northern Kosovo.

However, the EU had long been opposing this arrangement for fear that some other Balkan countries would follow suit, hence resulting in a new round of conflicts. The previous U.S. governments had never showed sign of support, but the current President Trump's administration made a sudden change unexpectedly.

Following the announcement made by the Special Prosecutors Office about the charges, Thaci's office immediately announced the cancellation of his trip to the U.S., and the "Prime Minister" Avdullah Hoti, originally scheduled to replace Thaci, said that he would not depart for Washington, D.C. as well. Grenell respected Thaci's decision to re-engage in peace negotiations only after the legal issues were properly handled, while the Serbian side had yet to indicate whether the delegation would attend the meeting as scheduled.

Kosovo, an autonomous region of Serbia, declared unilaterally its "independence" in 2008, which was, however, recognized by only a few western countries such as the U.S. but not Serbia and some EU member states.

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