Readers of The Times and some other papers may well be startled to learn this morning that Kosovo is a murderous, criminal ‘state’ and that its prime minister, Haksim Thaci, is the biggest villain of all.
It’s not exactly news to anyone who makes the least effort to stay independently informed about events in the Balkans. To be fair, almost uniquely among British newspapers, the Guardian has carried occasional articles taking a fair and balanced look at the Serbian province and its affairs.
That newspaper has acquired the full text of a report to the Council of Europe on organised crime in Kosovo. It is the result of a two year inquiry headed by the Swiss human rights investigator Dick Marty and it will be published in full tomorrow, although a provisional draft is available on the Council’s website.
Its contents are grimly predictable. Kosovo is a major conduit for heroin into Europe and its prime minister heads the mafia which smuggles the drug.
The ethnic Albanian terror group, the KLA, is intimately involved in the province’s government (a position which the latest election is likely to perpetuate) and it organises organ harvesting and other crimes. The report lends credence to claims by Carla Del Ponte, ex chief prosecutor for war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, that she was prevented from investigating Kosovar atrocities, including the murder of Serbs in order to harvest their organs.
Thaci’s inner circle is directly implicated in that incident, which is alleged to have taken place within Albania itself, just north of Tirana.
Since 1998 the KLA has exercised a stranglehold over criminality in Kosovo, exerting its supremacy over smaller groups, before Nato sponsored its assent to government. After Slobodan Milosevic reacted brutally to attacks by Albanian terrorists, Thaci and others oversaw a horrific regime of ’reverse-cleansing’ which affected Serbs, Roma and Albanians whose loyalty was in doubt.
Marty finds that, for the most part, this violence was ignored by the international community, which overlooked Albanian war-crimes, supposedly in the interests of “short-term stability”. The KLA moved seamlessly from slaughter into government, without relinquishing its criminal enterprises and the regime is now effectively sponsored by the US, most of the EU and Nato.
Serbia’s deputy war crimes prosecutor has hailed the report as a great victory for truth and justice. Certainly it adds authority to claims against Kosovo which any interested observer would already take as read. Anything which highlights the complete moral bankruptcy of much of the international community‘s Balkan policy deserves a wider audience.
After a messy ethno-nationalist war, which saw atrocities on both sides and where the result of Albanian terrorism coupled with western interventionism was a brutal reaction by Serbia, there was an opportunity to build a stable future for the region.
Rather than encourage an agreed autonomous Kosovo, within Serbia and with strong democratic guarantees, Nato unilaterally carved up a sovereign state and created a mafia regime.
Kosovo (and Serbia) could be moving towards a prosperous and peaceful future and possible EU membership. Instead it is a crime ridden, corrupt, quasi-independent mess which cannot hope to command the allegiance of its Serb minority. Hopefully this report will go some way toward forcing the people responsible to face up to their actions.