Kosovo's Parliament has approved a constitutional amendment to set up a special court to prosecute former leaders over war crimes, including the killing of hundreds of Serb civilians.

The 120-seat legislature voted 82-5 on Monday in favor of the change, with several abstentions. The vote comes after pressure from Kosovo's Western backers to pass the legislation and avoid Russian demands to deal with the allegations.

International judges and prosecutors will be entirely in charge of the proceedings, which are to take place outside Kosovo, most likely in the Netherlands.

A 2010 Council of Europe report claimed that Hashim Thaci, a former rebel leader-turned-politician, ran a criminal ring with other guerrillas that targeted Serbs, Roma and fellow ethnic Albanians.

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