Council of Europe demands thorough enquiry into Kosovo government’s criminal behaviour

26 January 2011

Council of Europe demands thorough enquiry into Kosovo government’s criminal behaviour

The Council of Europe is calling for an independent international enquiry into alleged links between the government of Kosovo and organised crime. The regime is suspected, amongst other things, of involvement in trade in organs of prisoners of war during and after the war which took place in Kosovo eleven years ago. ‘The report from the Council of Europe as well as NATO’s own conclusions lay a major responsibility on the shoulders of all of the governments involved to make possible now a thoroughgoing and independent international enquiry, one which must not limit itself to looking into low-level links but must if necessary call to account Kosovo’s highest authorities.'

The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which in 1999 was NATO’s ally in the war against Serbia, now forms the core of Kosovo’s government, following the unilateral declaration of independence by the province, and its secession from Serbia. Kosovo Premier Hashim Thaçi, at the time leader of the KLA, appears to have maintained, and to continue to maintain, close relations with organised criminality in his country. This is what emerges from the controversial report from Dick Marty, formerly an officer of justice in Switzerland and currently rapporteur for the Council of Europe.

Tiny KoxSP Senator Tiny Kox, Chair of the United Left political group in the Parliamentary Assembly of the human rights organisation in Strasbourg, describes the conclusions as “shocking…not only because of the horrific reports of the KLA’s prisoners being killed and then robbed of their organs on Albanian territory, and with the full knowledge of the Albanian government, but most of all because the report reveals that a large number of governments of NATO countries were aware of the criminal activities on the part of their Kosovar ally in the war against Serbia but did nothing about this.”

Kox points in connection to this to the fact that the rapporteur says that he has convincing evidence that the intelligence services of the United States and Germany in particular knew all about what was going on in Kosovo, but found winning the war more important than the protection of human rights. In NATO documents leaked since, the military alliance itself stated that Premier Thaçi ‘is a big fish in organised crime’.

In a reaction today in the Parliamentary Assembly, Serbian President Boris Tadic described the findings as disturbing, adding however that he found the assembly’s actions extremely encouraging. The reaction of Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha was precisely the opposite. As soon as the report was adopted he cancelled his planned visit to Strasbourg, where he was to address the Assembly on Thursday. He had earlier described Dick Marty as ‘an anti-Albanian racist’.
“I had already announced that I would be demanding an apology from Berisha should he come to give his speech before us” says Kox. “Clearly the Albanian premier didn’t want to see things go so far, but his decision to stay away also says a great deal.”

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