News 28 Dec 10

Serbian Prosecutor: Kosovo PM ‘Threatening’ Witnesses

Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci has been accused of threatening witnesses who could back up claims made in the explosive Council of Europe report which alleges Thaci is an organised crime boss.

B92, Tanjug

The outgoing Prime Minister, whose party secured the largest share of the vote in the December 12 poll, said over the weekend that he has a list of witnesses who spoke to the CoE rapporteur Dick Marty, adding that, when the evidence is released, those involved would “go red.”

Thaci, as well as other Kosovo Albanian politicians fingered in the report, has strenuously denied the claims.

Serbian Deputy War Crimes Prosecutor Bruno Vekaric said Thaci’s comments were dangerous and alarming.

"It is very dangerous when someone who is about to be investigated is threatening to disclose the names of witnesses," Vekaric told the Belgrade-based Tanjug news agency.

It is a call for lynching and a threat to witnesses, he added.

Vekaric recalled that, under any law, and also in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, disrupting criminal proceedings is considered a criminal act.

He hopes that international actors will now react to Thaci's statements.

“When someone, who said the day before yesterday that he wanted an honest investigation, suddenly starts speaking about how he will go public with a list of witnesses who had been cooperating with Dick Marty, I believe the person is really opposed to seeing the investigation conducted properly,” Vekaric explained.

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Background

From Kosovo's Organ-Harvesting Controversy to Special Court

This is the sequence of events leading from the organ-trafficking allegations in Kosovo to the creation of the special court that aims to prosecute Kosovo Liberation Army crimes.

Fatmir Limaj, Kosovo's Road-Builder

Corruption allegations have not dented the popularity of the KLA- fighter-turned-PDK politician who has made it his mission to transform the country’s traffic arteries.

KLA : From Guerilla Wars to Party Plenums

The Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, was an ethnic Albanian guerrilla group that came to the fore in the mid-1990s, demanding the unification of Albanian territories in former Yugoslavia with Albania.

KLA Ran Torture Camps in Albania

The Kosovo Liberation Army maintained a network of prisons in their bases in Albania and Kosovo during and after the conflict of 1999, eyewitnesses allege. Only now are the details of what occurred there emerging.

The Drenica Group

Crime gang allegedly headed by Prime Minister Thaci is said to have run a range of mafia-like enterprises, from cigarette smuggling to trafficking in organs.

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