Just days after Kosovo's first independent election since splitting from Serbia in 2008, the country's newly elected prime minister is being accused of heading a "'mafia-like' group responsible for smuggling weapons, drugs and human organs through eastern Europe." The Guardian has obtained an organized crime report from the Council of Europe which provides incriminating evidence that Hashim Thaci and his criminal group have been involved in the murder and selling the kidneys of several Serbs and have had powerful control over the heroin trade as well as the government for at least the past ten years, since the period leading up to the Kosovo war.
The inquiry's human rights director Dick Marty explained to The Guardian why, if Thaci's group has been active for more than a decade, we are just receiving the news now.
During the Kosovo conflict Slobodan Miloševic's troops responded to attacks by the KLA by orchestrating a horrific campaign against ethnic Albanians in the territory. As many as 10,000 are estimated to have died at the hands of Serbian troops.
While deploring Serb atrocities, Marty said the international community chose to ignore suspected war crimes by the KLA, "placing a premium instead on achieving some degree of short-term stability". He concludes that during the Kosovo war and for almost a year after, Thaçi and four other members of the Drenica group named in the report carried out "assassinations, detentions, beatings and interrogations". This same hardline KLA faction has held considerable power in Kosovo's government over the last decade, with the support of western powers keen to ensure stability in the fledgling state.
The United States FBI was one of the intelligence agencies to assist in the investigation. The disturbing information comes as a shock to some bloggers who reacted with a few short words:
- National Review's Dennis Boyles:"We bombed Belgrade for these guys?"
- The American Spectator's Doug Bandow: "What a great new addition to Europe. But then, that's what happens when Washington tries to engage in social engineering around the globe."
- Or, even more succinctly, Brendan Kiley at The Stranger "Holy shit."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.