- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 30, 2018

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) - The American chief prosecutor of an international court investigating war crimes in Kosovo on Tuesday visited the country for the first time since he took the post.

U.S. Specialist Prosecutor Jack Smith is expected to meet with international organizations, European Union and Kosovo justice ministry officials.

Smith succeeded David Schwendiman in September as the chief prosecutor of the Hague-based Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office. The court is tasked with investigating allegations made by the Council of Europe’s 2011 report about war crimes committed by Kosovo independence fighters during and after the country’s bloody 1998-1999 war for independence.

The conflict ended with a 78-day NATO air campaign in June 1999, stopping a Serbian crackdown against ethnic Albanian separatists.

Kosovo’s 2008 independence is recognized by more than 100 states but not by Serbia.

Kosovo agreed to the court’s establishment in 2015 following U.S. and European pressure.

Justice Minister Abelard Tahiri assured Smith of his country’s commitment to “comply with all the obligations.”

The court has yet to hear any cases.

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