With the confirmation of an indictment before the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC) and its publication, the process for victims to apply to participate in future proceedings has now begun.
Speaking about the participation of victims, President Ekaterina Trendafilova said “the Kosovo Specialist Chambers has jurisdiction over very serious crimes, including crimes against humanity and war crimes. In order for justice to be served, we must not forget those who suffered as a result of these crimes. At our court, victims are given the opportunity to partake in the proceedings, to partake in justice being done.”
Persons who can demonstrate that they have personally suffered harm, including physical, mental or material harm, as a direct result of alleged crimes contained in a confirmed indictment, may now apply to participate in the proceedings. A Judge will then decide whether the person who applied can become a participating victim before the KSC.
“The Kosovo Specialist Chambers is committed to enabling victims to participate in the proceedings, with the assistance of Victims’ Counsel. The Victims’ Participation Office of the KSC will make every effort to assist persons in completing the applications, which will be treated securely and confidentially,” said Registrar Fidelma Donlon.
Participating victims in proceedings at the KSC will form one or more groups. Each of these groups participates through a lawyer who is also called the Victims’ Counsel. Victims’ Counsel may be present at court hearings and will keep the victims informed throughout the proceedings. Victims’ Counsel will seek victims’ views, hear their concerns and bring these to the attention of the relevant Judges. Victims who participate in proceedings before the KSC have certain rights, including the right to notification, acknowledgement and reparation.
“It is essential that the voices of the victims be heard throughout the proceedings to come. I strongly encourage those who have suffered as a result of the crimes charged to participate in this process,” added Specialist Prosecutor Jack Smith.
More information about victims’ participation, including how to apply, can be found at: https://www.scp-ks.org/en/specialist-chambers/victims