Sunday

5th Jul 2020

EU and US accused of cover-up on organ trafficking

Western governments have known about the criminal activities of senior politicians in Kosovo for a long time, Council of Europe investigator Dick Marty has said, adding that Europe is now unwilling to properly investigate the situation for fear of being exposed.

"Western countries knew all the time what was happening in Kosovo but nobody did anything about it," Mr Marty said in an interview with the Slovenian daily Delo on Saturday (12 February).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Dick Marty said Brussels would do everything it could to make the case sink into oblivion (Photo: EUobserver)

A report published by Mr Marty in December sent shockwaves through the international community when it linked Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci to a gruesome crime ring which carried out organ harvesting and heroin smuggling in the region.

Serb prisoners held in special detention camps were killed and had their organs extracted for sale on the international black market in the 1990s, claimed the 27-page document.

A former leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), Mr Thaci's name was frequently cited in intelligence and diplomatic reports from Kosovo sent by western information agencies such as the FBI, MI6, "but the western politicians persistently remained quiet," Mr Marty said in the interview.

"Everybody kept quiet. That's the real scandal, not my report in which I only wrote what many have known for a long time," he added.

That claim appears to be supported by a recently leaked US diplomatic cable which suggests former Dutch state secretary for European Affairs Frans Timmermans warned the US in 2007 that senior Kosovo officials were heavily involved in criminal activities.

"Kosovo is run by people who live off crime ... [they have] no other means to support themselves," Mr Timmermans reportedly told US officials in The Hague, according to the cable published by WikiLeaks.

An EU mission in Kosovo, Eulex, is currently investigating the recent allegations, but the supervisory body is plagued by internal problems that will prevent witnesses giving real evidence, Mr Marty said.

"There is no secrecy. All translators are local, there are many local staff. That is why even the most confidential information has been systematically leaking," he said.

"If I gave [Eulex] the names of the witnesses I interviewed [as called for by the EU], their lives would immediately be under threat."

Instead, a special investigation unit from abroad with a credible witness protection programme is needed, suggested the Swiss politician - something he feels Europe will oppose as it will expose their previous unwillingness to act.

"Europe is never going to accept that. Because it knows that my witnesses would really talk and reveal that a large part of the European politicians knew all along what was going on in Kosovo. Do you really think that Brussels wants to hear something like this," he said.

Organised crime problem dogs EU record on Kosovo

Four years after EU police came to Kosovo it has not indicted any top suspects on organised crime, posing questions about its work and the integrity of Kosovo's leaders.

Facial-recognition moratorium back on EU agenda

Members of the committee on civil liberties widely supported a moratorium on facial recognition for law enforcement purposes, just after the EU data watchdog backed earlier this week the ban on this technology in public spaces.

EU parliament chairs explain missing lobbyist meetings

MEPs in January 2019 agreed to a rule change in a bid for greater transparency. The rules included requiring committee chairs to publish their meetings with registered lobbyists. EUobserver spoke to six chairs, who haven't done so yet.

Opinion

Why so few women in EU missions?

Angela Merkel is only the seventh woman to chair the Council of the European Union's meetings. And in 2020 there is no woman leading any of the current 11 European civilian missions (let alone the six military operations).

News in Brief

  1. EU grants Remdesivir conditional authorisation
  2. French prime minister and government resign
  3. France lied on Nato naval clash, Turkey claims
  4. EU highlights abuses in recent Russia vote
  5. Belgium bids to host EU mask stockpile
  6. France shamed on refugees by European court
  7. French and Dutch police take down criminal phone network
  8. EU launches infringement case on Covid-19 cancelled trips

Opinion

On toppling statues

The internationally-acclaimed author of King Leopold's Ghost, Adam Hochschild, writes on Belgium's problems with statues, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Feature

The 150 random French citizens advising Macron

Some 150 randomly-picked men and women make up Emmanuel Macron's Citizens' Climate Convention. This week Macron invited them to the Élysée Palace and promised - nearly - all of their wishes would come true .

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  2. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  4. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  6. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us