A special court is being set up in The Hague to prosecute crimes committed by ethnic Albanian rebels during and in the immediate aftermath of Kosovo's war for independence.

The Dutch government announced Friday that the European Union-funded court will "try serious crimes allegedly committed in 1999-2000 by members of the Kosovo Liberation Army against ethnic minorities and political opponents."

Putting KLA members on trial is a sensitive issue in Kosovo, where they are considered by many to be freedom fighters.

The court is expected to start work later this year in the former headquarters of EU police organization Europol. International judges will apply Kosovo law in the court.

Some 10,000 people died and 1,700 went missing during the 1998-1999 war as Kosovo fought to break away from Serbia.