Persons who believe that they have suffered direct harm from the crimes contained in a confirmed indictment before the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC) can apply to participate in the proceedings. With the publication of a confirmed indictment against Pjetёr Shala for war crimes allegedly committed against persons detained at the Kukёs Metal Factory (Albania) between approximately 17 May 1999 and 5 June 1999, the process for victims to apply in this case is now open.
“The Law on Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office affords the victims of crimes within the jurisdiction of the KSC certain rights. It allows for victims to participate in the proceedings and to have their voices heard. This is a very important element of the proceedings,” said President Ekaterina Trendafilova.
A group of participating victims will be represented in court by a lawyer, also called Victims’ Counsel. The Victims’ Counsel will keep the victims informed of what is happening in the trial, seek their views and concerns and bring these to the attention of the Judges.
“We have made substantial efforts to communicate to the general public and to potential victims about the possibility for victims to participate and about how to apply. The Victims’ Participation Office now stands ready to assist those who can demonstrate that they have suffered harm as a result of the crimes alleged in confirmed indictments before the Specialist Chambers,” said Registrar Fidelma Donlon.
The Victims’ Participation Office will treat all victims’ applications as well as communications with potential participating victims and those who assist them as confidential. Ahead of the trial, a Panel will decide on whether persons who applied can become participating victims before the KSC. Victims who participate in proceedings before the KSC have certain rights, including the right to notification, acknowledgement and reparation.
“In the pursuit of justice, the victims of the crimes alleged in the indictments filed by my office must not be forgotten. Participation by victims in the proceedings is one way to ensure that this does not happen,” Specialist Prosecutor Jack Smith said.
More information about victims’ participation, and how to apply, can be found at: https://www.scp-ks.org/en/specialist-chambers/victims.