Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Kosovo votes - for an organlegger

Over the weekend Kosovars went to the polls in the country's first elections since independence, and re-elected incumbent Prime Minister Hashim Thaci. But it turns out that they may have made a very poor choice. Why? Because Thaci is an organ-legging gangster:

Kosovo's prime minister is the head of a "mafia-like" Albanian group responsible for smuggling weapons, drugs and human organs through eastern Europe, according to a Council of Europe inquiry report on organised crime.

Hashim Thaçi is identified as the boss of a network that began operating criminal rackets in the runup to the 1999 Kosovo war, and has held powerful sway over the country's government since.

The report of the two-year inquiry, which cites FBI and other intelligence sources, has been obtained by the Guardian. It names Thaçi as having over the last decade exerted "violent control" over the heroin trade. Figures from Thaçi's inner circle are also accused of taking captives across the border into Albania after the war, where a number of Serbs are said to have been murdered for their kidneys, which were sold on the black market.


[The] inquiry was commissioned after the former chief prosecutor for war crimes at the Hague, Carla Del Ponte, said she had been prevented from investigating senior KLA officials. Her most shocking claim, which she said required further investigation, was that the KLA smuggled captive Serbs across the border into Albania, where their organs were harvested.

These are serious charges, and they need to be properly investigated by a court. Given that crimes were allegedly carried out against prisoners of war, the Hague Tribunal would seem to be the natural venue. The question is whether the west will allow that to happen, or continue to place "stability" before justice and human rights.