måndag 17 januari 2011

Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights Inhuman treatment of people and illicit trafficking in human organs in Kosovo*

Restricted [provisional version]
AS/Jur (2010) 46
12 December 2010
Ajdoc46 2010
Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights
Inhuman  treatment  of  people  and  illicit  trafficking  in  human
organs in Kosovo*
Draft report
Rapporteur: Mr Dick Marty, Switzerland, Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
A. Preliminary draft resolution
1. The  Parliamentary  Assembly  was  extremely  concerned  to  learn  of  the  revelations  of  the  former
Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), who alleged that serious
crimes had been committed during the conflict in Kosovo, including trafficking in human organs, crimes which
had gone unpunished hitherto and had not been the subject of any serious investigation.
2. In addition, according  to  the  former Prosecutor,  these acts had been committed by members of  the
"Kosovo Liberation Army" (KLA) militia against Serbian nationals who had remained in Kosovo at the end of
the armed conflict and been taken prisoner.
3. According  to  the  information gathered by  the Assembly and  to  the criminal  investigations now under
way, numerous concrete and convergent indications confirm that some Serbs and some Kosovar Albanians
were held prisoner in secret places of detention under KLA control in northern Albania and were subjected to
inhuman and degrading treatment, before ultimately disappearing.
4. Numerous indications seem to confirm that, during the period immediately after the end of the armed
conflict, before  international  forces had  really been able  to  take  control of  the  region and  re-establish a
semblance of law and order, organs were removed from some prisoners at a clinic in Albanian territory, near
Fushë-Krujë, to be taken abroad for transplantation.
5. This criminal activity, which developed with  the benefit of  the chaos prevailing  in  the  region, at  the
initiative of certain KLA militia  leaders  linked  to organised crime, has continued, albeit  in other  forms, until
today, as demonstrated by an investigation being carried out by the European Union Rule of Law Mission in
Kosovo (EULEX) relating to the Medicus clinic in Pristina.
6. Although some concrete evidence of such trafficking already existed at the beginning of the decade,
the  international  authorities  in  charge  of  the  region  did  not  consider  it  necessary  to  conduct  a  detailed
examination of these circumstances, or did so in an incomplete and superficial manner.
* All reference to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population, in this text shall be understood in
full compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and without prejudice to the status of
Kosovo.AS/Jur (2010) 46 2
7. Particularly  during  the  first  years  of  their  presence  in  Kosovo,  the  international  organisations
responsible for security and the rule of law (KFOR and UNMIK) had to cope with major structural problems
and serious shortages of staff with  the skills  to  take on  the  tasks  they were entrusted with, all  this being
aggravated by rapid and constant staff rotation.
8. The ICTY, which had started to conduct an initial examination on the spot to establish the existence of
traces of possible organ  trafficking, dropped  the  investigation.   The elements of proof  taken  in Rripe,  in
Albania, have been destroyed and cannot  therefore be used  for more detailed analyses. No subsequent
investigation has been carried out  into a case nevertheless considered sufficiently serious by  the  former
ICTY Prosecutor for her to see the need to bring it to public attention through her book.
9. During the decisive phase of the armed conflict, NATO took action in the form of air strikes, while land
operations were conducted by the KLA, de facto allies of the international forces.  Following the departure of
the Serbian authorities, the international bodies responsible for security in Kosovo very much relied on the
political forces in power in Kosovo, most of them former KLA leaders.
10. The international organisations in place in Kosovo favoured a pragmatic political approach, taking the
view  that  they  needed  to  promote  short-term  stability  at  any  price,  thereby  sacrificing  some  important
principles of justice.  For a long time little was done to follow-up evidence implicating KLA members in crimes
against the Serbian population and against certain Albanian Kosovars.  Immediately after the conflict ended,
in effect, when  the KLA had virtually exclusive control on  the ground, many scores were settled between
different  factions and against  those considered, without any kind of  trial,  to be  traitors because  they were
suspected of having collaborated with the Serbian authorities previously in place.
11. EULEX, which  took over certain  functions  in  the  justice sector previously  fulfilled by UN structures
(UNMIK)  at  the  end  of  2008,  inherited  a  difficult  and  sensitive  situation,  particularly  in  the  sphere  of
combating serious crime: incomplete records, lost documents, uncollected witness testimony. Consequently,
a large number of crimes may well continue to go unpunished.  Little or no detailed investigation has been
carried out into organised crime and its connections with representatives of political institutions, or in respect
of war crimes committed against Serbians and Albanian Kosovars regarded as collaborators or as rivals of
the dominant factions.  This last-named subject is still truly taboo in Kosovo today, although everybody talks
about  it  in private, very cautiously.  EULEX seems very recently  to have made some progress  in  this  field,
and it is very much to be hoped that political considerations will not impede this commitment.
12. The  team  of  international  prosecutors  and  investigators  within  EULEX  which  is  responsible  for
investigating allegations of  inhuman  treatment,  including  those  relating  to possible organ  trafficking, has
made progress, particularly in respect of proving the existence of secret KLA places of detention in northern
Albania where  inhuman  treatment and even murders are said  to have been committed.   The  investigation
does not, however, benefit from the desirable co-operation from the Albanian authorities.
13. The appalling crimes committed by Serbian  forces, which stirred up very strong  feelings worldwide,
gave rise  to a mood reflected as well  in  the attitude of certain  international agencies, according  to which  it
was invariably one side that were regarded as the perpetrators of crimes and the other side as the victims,
thus necessarily innocent.  The reality is less clear-cut and more complex.
14. The  Parliamentary  Assembly  strongly  reaffirms  the  need  for  an  absolutely  uncompromising  fight
against impunity for the perpetrators of serious human rights violations, and wishes to point out that the fact
that  these were committed  in  the context of a violent conflict could never  justify a decision  to  refrain  from
prosecuting anyone who has committed such acts (see Resolution 1675 (2009)).
15. There cannot and must not be one  justice  for  the winners and another  for  the  losers.  Whenever a
conflict has occurred, all criminals must be prosecuted and held responsible for their illegal acts, whichever
side they belonged to and irrespective of the political role they took on.
16. The question which, from the humanitarian viewpoint, remains the most acute and sensitive is that of
missing persons.   Of more  than 6,000 disappearances on which  the  International Committee of  the Red
Cross (ICRC) has opened  files, approximately 1,400  individuals have been  found alive and 2,500 corpses
have been  found and  identified.   For  the most part,  these were Albanian Kosovar victims  found  in mass
graves  in  regions under Serbian control and  in Kosovo.   To  the almost 1,900 persons who went missing
during  the  conflict and whose  fate has  still not been established  (approximately  two-thirds of whom are
Albanian Kosovars) must be added almost 500 persons who disappeared after the arrival of KFOR troops on
12 June 1999, about 100 of whom were Kosovar Albanians and close to 400 non-Albanians, mostly Serbs.3 AS/Jur (2010) 46
17. Co-operation  is  still  clearly  insufficient  between  international  agencies  on  the  one  hand  and  the
Kosovar and Albanian authorities on the other in finding out the fate of the missing persons.  Whereas Serbia
ultimately  co-operated,  it  has  proved  far more  complicated  to  carry  out  excavations  on  the  territory  of
Kosovo,  and  has  been  impossible,  at  least  so  far,  on Albanian  territory.   Co-operation  by  the Kosovar
authorities  is  particularly  lacking  in  respect  of  the  search  for  the  almost  500  persons  who  officially
disappeared after the end of the conflict.
18. The working  group  on missing  persons,  chaired  by  the  ICRC  and  the  EULEX Office  on Missing
Persons, needs the full and wholehearted support of the international community in order for the reluctance
on both sides  to be overcome.  Knowing  the  truth and enabling victims'  families  to mourn at  last  is a vital
precondition for reconciliation between the communities and a peaceful future in this region of the Balkans.
19. The Assembly therefore invites:
19.1 the member states of the European Union and the other contributing states:
19.1.1 to allocate  to EULEX  the  resources  that  it needs,  in  terms of  logistics and highly skilled staff,  to
deal with the extraordinarily complex and important role entrusted to it;
19.1.2 to set EULEX a clear objective and give it political support at the highest level to combat organised
crime  uncompromisingly,  and  to  ensure  that  justice  is  done,  without  any  considerations  of  political
19.1.3 to commit all the resources needed to set up effective witness protection programmes;
19.2 EULEX:
19.2.1 to persevere with  its  investigative work, without  taking any account of  the offices held by possible
suspects or of  the origin of  the victims, doing everything  to cast  light on  the criminal disappearances,  the
indications  of  organ  trafficking,  corruption  and  the  collusion  so  often  complained  of  between  organised
criminal groups and political circles;
19.2.2 to take every measure necessary to ensure effective protection for witnesses and to gain their trust;
19.3 the  ICTY  to co-operate  fully with EULEX, particularly by making available  to  it  the  information
and elements of proof in its possession likely to help EULEX to prosecute those responsible for crimes within
its jurisdiction;
19.4 the Serbian authorities:
19.4.1 to make every effort  to  capture  the persons  still wanted by  the  ICTY  for war  crimes, particularly
General Ratko Mladic and Goran Hadzic, whose  impunity continues  to constitute a serious obstacle  to  the
process of reconciliation and  is often referred  to by  the authorities of other countries  to  justify  their  lack of
enthusiasm about taking judicial action themselves;
19.4.2 to co-operate closely with EULEX, particularly by passing to it all information which may help to clear
up crimes committed during and after the conflict in Kosovo;
19.4.3 to  take  the necessary measures  to prevent  leaks to  the press of  information about  investigations
concerning Kosovo, leaks which are prejudicial to co-operation with other authorities and to the credibility of
the investigative work;
19.5 the Albanian authorities and the Kosovo administration :
19.5.1 to co-operate unreservedly with EULEX and the Serbian authorities in the framework of procedures
intended to find out the truth about crimes committed in Kosovo, irrespective of the known or assumed origin
of the suspects and the victims;
19.5.2 in  particular,  to  take  action  on  the  requests  for  judicial  assistance made  by EULEX  concerning
criminal acts alleged to have occurred in a KLA camp in northern Albania;AS/Jur (2010) 46 4
19.5.3  to  start  a  serious  and  independent  investigation  in  order  to  find  out  the  whole  truth  about  the
allegations, sometimes concrete and specific, of  the existence of secret detention centres where  inhuman
treatment was purportedly  inflicted on prisoners  from Kosovo, of Serbian or Albanian origin, during and
immediately after the conflict; the investigation must also be extended to a verification of the equally specific
allegations about organ trafficking said to have taken place during the same period, some of it on Albanian
19.6 all the Council of Europe member and observer states concerned:
19.6.1 to  respond without  undue  delay  to  the  requests  for  judicial  co-operation  addressed  to  them  by
EULEX and by the Serbian authorities in the framework of their current investigations concerning war crimes
and organ trafficking; the delayed response to these requests is incomprehensible and intolerable in view of
the  importance and urgency of  international co-operation  to deal with such serious and dangerous crime
19.6.2 to co-operate with EULEX in its efforts to protect witnesses, especially when the persons concerned
can no longer continue to live in the region and must therefore adopt a new identity and find a new country of
20. The  Assembly,  aware  that  trafficking  of  human  organs  is  now  an  extremely  serious  problem
worldwide, manifestly contravening the most basic standards in terms of human rights and dignity, welcomes
and  concurs with  the  conclusions of  the  joint  study published  in 2009 by  the Council of Europe and  the
United Nations Organisation.  It  agrees  in  particular with  the  conclusion  that  it  is  necessary  to  draft  an
international legal instrument, which lays down definitions of human organ, tissue and cell trafficking and lays
out  the action  that shall be  taken  in order  to prevent such  trafficking and  to protect  its victims,   as well as
criminal law measures to prosecute the perpetrators.5 AS/Jur (2010) 46
B. Explanatory memorandum by Mr Dick Marty
1. Introductory remarks – an overview
2. Introductory commentary on sources
3. Detailed findings of our inquiry
3.1 The overall picture
3.2 KLA factionalism and the nexus with organised crime
3.3 Detention facilities and the inhuman treatment of captives
3.3.1. KLA detentions in wartime First subset of captives: the “prisoners of war” Case study on the nature of the facilities: Cahan Case study on the nature of the facilities: Kukës
3.3.2. Post-conflict detentions carried out by KLA members and affiliates Second subset of captives: the “disappeared” Case study on the nature of the facilities: Rripe Observations on the conditions of detention and transport Third subset of captives: the “victims of organised crime” Case study on the nature of the facilities: Fushë-Krujë
4. Medicus clinic
5. Reflections on the “glass ceiling of accountability” in Kosovo
6. Some concluding remarksAS/Jur (2010) 46 6
1. Introductory remarks – an overview
1.  In April 2008 Madam Carla Del Ponte,  the  former Chief Prosecutor before  the  International Criminal
Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), published a set of memoirs, co-authored with Chuck Sudetic, on
her experiences within  the  tribunal.   The book  initially came out  in  Italian  (“La caccia –  Io e  i criminali di
guerra”),  then  in  translation, notably  in French  (“La  traque,  les criminels de guerre et moi”).  In  the book,
almost  ten  years after  the end of  the war  in Kosovo,  there appeared  revelations of  trafficking  in human
organs  taken  from Serb prisoners, reportedly carried out by  leading commanders of  the Kosovo Liberation
Army (KLA). These claims were surprising in several respects and have provoked a host of strong reactions.
They were surprising,  in  the  first place, because  they emanated  from someone who exercised  the highest
official responsibilities, at the very heart of the judicial system tasked with prosecuting the crimes committed
in  the course of  the conflicts  that  ravaged  the  former Yugoslavia.   Furthermore, and above all,  they were
surprising because they revealed an apparent absence of official follow-up in respect of allegations that were
nevertheless deemed serious enough  to warrant  inclusion  in  the memoirs of  the  former Prosecutor could
hardly have ignored the grave and far-reaching nature of the allegations she had decided to make public.
2.  Having before it a motion for a Resolution (doc.11574), which demanded a thorough investigation into
the acts mentioned by Madam Del Ponte and their consequences, in order to ascertain their veracity, deliver
justice to the victims and apprehend the culprits of the crimes, the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human
Rights appointed me as Rapporteur and accordingly instructed me to propose a preliminary draft resolution
and to draw up a report.
3.  The extraordinary challenges of  this assignment were  immediately clear.   The acts alleged – by a
former prosecutor of  international standing,  let us  remember – purportedly  took place a decade ago and
were not properly  investigated by any of  the national and  international authorities with  jurisdiction over  the
territories concerned.   All  the  indications are  that efforts  to establish  the  facts of  the Kosovo conflict and
punish  the  attendant war  crimes  had  primarily  been  concentrated  in  one  direction,  based  on  an  implicit
presumption that one side were the victims and the other side the perpetrators. As we shall see, the reality
seems  to  have  been more  complex.   The  structure  of  Kosovar  Albanian  society,  still  very much  clanorientated, and  the absence of a  true civil society have made  it extremely difficult  to set up contacts with
local sources. This is compounded by fear, often to the point of genuine terror, which we have observed in
some of our informants immediately upon broaching the subject of our inquiry.  Even certain representatives
of international institutions did not conceal their reluctance to grapple with these facts: “The past is the past”,
we were told; “we must now look to the future”. The Albanian authorities intimated that their territory had not
been affected by  the conflict and  that  they had no  reason  to open an  inquiry. The Serbian authorities did
react, albeit rather belatedly, but so far without having achieved any significant results. For its part the ICTY
carried out an exploratory mission to the site of the notorious “Yellow House”, though proceeding in a fairly
superficial way and with a standard of professionalism  that prompts some bewilderment.   In addition,  the
ICTY’s mandate was  restricted  to a clearly defined  timeframe and  territory:  the  international  tribunal was
enjoined to try those suspected of crimes committed only up to June 1999, marking the end of the Kosovo
conflict,  and  its  jurisdiction  does  not  extend  to  Albania,  except  in  instances  where  Albania  expressly
authorises investigations to take place on its territory.
4.  The acts with which we are presently concerned are alleged to have occurred for the most part from
the summer of 1999 onwards, against a background of great confusion throughout the region.  The Serbian
security forces had abandoned Kosovo, and the troops of KFOR (NATO’s international Kosovo Stabilisation
Force) were making  a  rather  slow  start  in  establishing  themselves; while  tens  of  thousands  of Kosovar
Albanian refugees were originally trying to reach Albania and then to return home, with ethnic Serbs in turn
seeking  refuge  in  the  territories controlled by  the Serbian Army.   It was chaos:  there was no  functioning
administration on the part of the Kosovars, and KFOR took quite some time to gain control of the situation,
evidently not possessing the know-how needed to cope with such extreme situations. The NATO intervention
had essentially  taken  the  form of an aerial campaign, with bombing  in Kosovo and  in Serbia – operations
thought by some to have infringed international law, as they were not authorised by the UN Security Council
– while on the ground NATO’s de facto ally was the KLA.  Thus, during the critical period that is the focus of
our inquiry, the KLA had effective control over an expansive territorial area, encompassing Kosovo as well as
some of  the border regions  in  the north of Albania.  KLA control should not be understood as a structured
exercise of power, and it was certainly far from assuming the contours of a state.  It was in the course of this
critical period that numerous crimes were committed both against Serbs who had stayed in the region and
against Kosovar Albanians suspected of having been “traitors” or “collaborators”, or who fell victim to internal
rivalries within the KLA.  These crimes have largely gone unpunished and it is only years later that a rather
diffident start has been made in dealing with them.7 AS/Jur (2010) 46
5.  During this chaotic phase, the border between Kosovo and Albania effectively ceased to exist.  There
was no form of control in effect, and it would hardly have been possible to enforce rules anyway, considering
the heavy flow of refugees towards Albania and their return in similar numbers after the end of the hostilities.
During a field mission on behalf of the Swiss Parliament in 1999, I was able to witness for myself the scale of
this phenomenon; I noted above all the singular solidarity shown by the Albanian population and authorities
in receiving the Kosovar refugees.  It was in this context that KLA militia factions moved freely on either side
of the border, which, as pointed out, had by then become little more than a token dividing line.  So it is clear
that the KLA held effective control in the region during that critical period, both in Kosovo and in the northern
part of Albania near the border.  The international forces co-operated with the KLA as the local authority in
military  operations  and  the  restoration  of  order.   It was  as  a  result  of  this  situation  that  certain  crimes
committed by members of  the KLA,  including some  top KLA  leaders, were effectively concealed and have
remained unpunished.
6. The  crimes  committed  by  the Serb  forces  have  been  documented,  denounced  and,  to  the  extent
possible,  tried  in courts of  law.   The  frightful nature of  these crimes hardly needs  to be  further  illustrated.
These crimes stemmed from a wicked policy ordered by Milosevic over a lengthy period, including at times
when he was  simultaneously being accorded  full diplomatic honours  in  the  capitals of many democratic
states. These crimes claimed tens of thousands of victims and disrupted a whole region of our continent.  In
the Kosovo conflict, the ethnic Albanian population suffered horrendous violence as the result of an insane
ethnic cleansing policy on the part of the dictator then in power in Belgrade. None of these historical events
could be cast in doubt today.  However, what emerged in parallel was a climate and a tendency according to
which  led  to all  these events and acts were viewed  through a  lens  that depicted everything as  rather  too
clear-cut: on one side the Serbs, who were seen as the evil oppressors, and on the other side the Kosovar
Albanians, who were seen as the innocent victims. In the horror and perpetration of crimes there can be no
principle of compensation. The basic essence of justice demands that everyone be treated in the same way.
Moreover, the duty to find the truth and administer justice must be discharged in order for genuine peace to
be restored, and for the different communities to be reconciled and begin living and working together.
7. Yet  in  the case of Kosovo,  the prevailing  logic appears  to have been rather short-sighted: restore a
semblance of order as quickly as possible, while avoiding anything that might be liable to destabilise a region
still in a state of very fragile equilibrium.  The result has been a form of justice that can only be defined as
selective, with impunity attaching to many of the crimes that appear, based on credible indications, to have
been directly or indirectly the work of top KLA leaders. The Western countries that engaged themselves in
Kosovo had  refrained  from a direct  intervention on  the ground, preferring  recourse  to air strikes, and had
thus taken on the KLA as their indispensable ally for ground operations.  The international actors chose to
turn a blind eye to the war crimes of the KLA, placing a premium instead on achieving some degree of shortterm stability.  In effect  the new Kosovo has been built on  the existing structures of  the Kosovar Albanian
homeland movement.  It follows that the successive international administrations put in place, as well as the
US Government, which is generally regarded as playing an important role in the affairs of the new Kosovo
have had to maintain good relations with their de  facto allies on the ground, as the latter have become the
new masters of the local political scene.  This situation, as we emphasised above, has ultimately foiled the
prospect  of  our  getting  to  the  bottom  of  the  crimes  committed,  at  least  in  cases where  there  is  every
indication that they were the misdeeds of persons in positions of power or close to those in power. An added
problem  is  that  the  resources  of  the  international  administration  under UNMIK were  insufficient,  both  in
quantity and in quality, for the task of prosecuting the crimes committed in an effective and impartial manner.
The  posting  of most  international  staff  to UNMIK  on  limited-term  contracts,  and  the  resultant  perpetual
rotation, caused a major hindrance to the administration of justice.   International officials told us that it had
been impossible to maintain confidentiality of their sources – an element considered essential to the success
of a criminal investigation – in particular because of their reliance on local interpreters who would often pass
on information to the persons being investigated.  As a result, EULEX has had to bring in interpreters from
other countries in order securely to conduct its most sensitive inquiries.  The same sources told us that the
approach of the international community could be aptly encapsulated in the notion of “stability and peace at
any cost”.  Obviously such an approach implied not falling out with the local actors in power.
8. The EULEX mission, operational since the end of 2008, thus inherited an extremely difficult situation.
Numerous files on war crimes, notably those in which KLA combatants were listed as suspects, were turned
over by UNMIK  in a deplorable  condition  (mislaid evidence and witness  statements,  long  time  lapses  in
following up on incomplete investigative steps), to the extent that EULEX officials stated their fears in quite
The United States of America has an Embassy endowed with impressive resources and a military base, Camp Bondsteel, of a scale
and significance that clearly transcends regional considerations.AS/Jur (2010) 46 8
explicit terms during our fact-finding visits that many files would simply have to be abandoned
Some of our .
contacts representing Kosovo’s nascent civil society did not hold back in criticising EULEX itself: it had been
widely expected  that EULEX would at  last go after  the  “untouchables”, whose more  than murky past was
common  knowledge.   Yet  these  expectations were  in  vain:  there  had  been many  announcements  and
promises, but the tangible results remained to be seen.  The case of Nazim Bllaca, the “whistle-blower” who
admitted publicly to having carried out murders upon the orders of some of today’s high-ranking politicians, is
emblematic.   Four days elapsed before  the man was arrested and placed under protection.   The way  in
which EULEX deals with his case will be an  important  test of how  far  it  is prepared  to go  in pursuing  its
mission to promote justice.
9. One must nevertheless commend the remarkable dedication of many EULEX staff – at time of writing
some 1, 600  international executives and 1, 100  local employees – and  their determination  to confront  the
extraordinary challenge handed  to  them.   Their efforts are beginning  to yield  tangible  results, notably with
regard to the cases of the detention camp at Kukës and the Medicus Clinic in Pristina.  Yet it is imperative
that EULEX  is given more explicit and more  resolute support  from  the highest  levels of European politics.
There can be no lingering ambiguity as to the need to pursue all those suspected of crimes, even in cases
where  the suspects hold  important  institutional and political positions.   Similarly, EULEX must urgently be
given access to the complete sets of records compiled by international agencies that previously operated in
Kosovo,  including KFOR  files  that have since been  returned  to  the  troop-contributing countries
, and  files
compiled  by  the  ICTY
According  to  the  key  practitioners working  on  the  ground,  there  ought  to  be  a   .
common,  unified  database  comprising  the  archives  of  all  the  international  actors,  readily  accessible  to
EULEX investigators.  One is left to wonder what might possibly be the reasons put forward for failing to fulfil
such a basic demand.
10. The  Kosovo  Police  (KP), multiethnic  in  its make-up,  is  professionally  trained, well-equipped  and
apparently effective  in  fighting petty crime or  less serious  forms of criminality.  With over 7, 200 uniformed
officers and more than 1, 100 support staff, the KP comprises representatives of 13 ethnic groups, including
10% of ethnic Serbs.  According to recent surveys, the KP is second only to KFOR among all the institutions
in Kosovo  in  the high  levels of public  trust  it enjoys.  Senior  international officials have also confirmed  that
the police are “decent”, whereas the judges are “problematic” – in the sense of being subject to intimidation,
under political  influence, or corrupt.   Assessments of  the police nevertheless varied among  the observers
whom we met.   The KP still has  to prove  itself and  to win  the  full confidence of  its  international partners,
including  its counterparts  in  the EULEX mission.  We sensed  lingering doubts among  internationals as  to
whether or not all the leaders of the police force share the necessary political resolve to go after all forms of
crime in the most robust fashion possible; especially where the police are called upon to combat organised
crime, and  / or crimes  in which highly placed political  figures are  implicated; and notably  in ensuring  truly
effective protection of witnesses, a very sensitive and vital tool in the prosecution of the most notorious and
dangerous criminals.
11. Corruption  and  organised  crime  constitute  a major  problem  in  the  region,  as  several  international
studies have shown.  The problem  is aggravated by  the  fact  that criminality, corruption and politics are so
closely intertwined.  The massive presence of international staff does not appear to have made things any
better, and  indeed has given  rise  to some  rather perverse anomalies;  for example, a driver or a cleaner
working  for an  international organisation or a  foreign Embassy  invariably earns appreciably more  than a
police officer or a judge, which is bound to upset the scales of societal values.
12. The most  pressing  priority  from  a  humanitarian  perspective  is  to  account  for  the  fate  of missing
persons  in  relation  to  the Kosovo  conflict.   The  number  of  disappearances  is  extremely  high when  one
considers the modest size of Kosovo’s population.  Out of a total of 6,005 cases of missing persons opened
by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), some 1,400 persons have been found alive and it
has been possible  to discover and  identify 2,500 bodies. Most of  the deceased victims were  identified as
Kosovar Albanians, half of whom were exhumed from mass graves discovered on Serbian territory and the
other half in Kosovo.   In addition there are 1, 869 missing persons who remain unaccounted for, about two-
The “UNMIK legacy” was described  to us in the form of a vivid image  that scarcely requires  further comment, as “300, 000 pages  in
We  learned  that certain KFOR contributors  (for example  the United Kingdom)  took all  their  records away with  them; and  that  these
records were  subsequently made  accessible  to  EULEX  investigators  only  on  the  basis  of  reasoned  case-by-case  applications,  a
complex procedure which considerably slows down the work of justice.
At the time of our visit in January 2010, EULEX investigators were not always able to access to the ICTY’s files, although but the ICTY
Prosecutor is more recently reported to have assured EULEX that access would be granted imminently.9 AS/Jur (2010) 46
thirds of whom are Kosovar Albanians.  470 missing persons disappeared after the arrival of KFOR troops
on 12 June 1999, 95 of whom were Kosovar Albanians and 375 non-Albanians, mainly Serbs
13. In assessing  these disappearances,  it is apt to note that many Kosovar Albanian  families who  lost a
relative after 12 June 1999 reportedly declared an earlier date of disappearance, before  this “cut-off date”,
out of fear that their loved ones might be deemed to have been “traitors” to the cause, punished by the KLA.
It is significant that Kosovo’s law on compensation for the families of “martyrs” expressly excludes persons
who died after the arrival of KFOR.  As to the law on compensation for the families of missing persons, which
is still under discussion, the stated position of the Kosovo authorities is that the law should cover only those
disappearances  that  occurred  after  1  January  1999  and  before  12  June  1999.  This  position  serves  to
demonstrate  just how sensitive  the matter of  the missing Kosovar Albanians  remains  to  the present day.
According  to several of our  informants,  the matter  is still considered utterly  taboo and continues  to  form a
serious impediment to the discovery of the truth.  The hunt for “traitors” has often overshadowed the bloody
feuding between internal factions of the KLA, and served to cover up the crimes committed by KLA members
and affiliates.
14. The current Office for Missing Persons and Forensics
has cited great difficulties  in working with  the
often  poor-quality  documentation  handed  down  by  its  predecessors
;  it  also  apparently  has  trouble
motivating  and  retaining  its  staff, who  are  said  to  be  underpaid  considering  the  qualifications  required.
Efforts  to  determine  the  fate  of missing  persons  have  also  suffered  from  a  clear  deficit  in  co-operation
between  the various  international agencies and  the Kosovo authorities, not  to mention with  the competent
authorities of Albania.  While Serbia did co-operate, albeit not without initial misgivings, in efforts to excavate
suspected mass graves  in  its  territory, such  investigative steps have proved  far more complicated  in  the
territory of Kosovo
, and up to now have been impossible on the territory of Albania
The co-operation of the .
Kosovo authorities has been especially lacking in relation to the 470 cases of disappearances that officially
occurred after the end of the conflict
The lack of co-operation by the authorities of Kosovo and Albania in .
determining  the  fate of  the missing Serbs, and even Kosovar Albanians  thought  to have  fallen  victim  to
crimes committed by members of  the KLA,  raises grave doubts about  the current  level of political will  to
establish the whole truth concerning these events.
15. The Working Group on Missing Persons chaired by  the  ICRC,  in conjunction with  the OMPF, needs
the wholehearted support of the international community to overcome the reluctance that exists on all sides.
Such support should be offered not least in the interests of the missing persons’ surviving relatives, whose
anguish continues to form a significant obstacle to reconciliation.
16. We have already recalled the manner in which the allegations of organ trafficking were made public,
assumed  international dimensions, and prompt PACE  to call  for  the preparation of  this report.   There was
extensive discussion around the so-called “Yellow House”, located in Rripe, near Burrel, in central Albania –
to  the  point  where  this  house  appeared  to  have monopolised  the  public’s  attention.   However,  upon
reflection, the house was merely one element among many in a far larger and more complex episode.   It is
true that the whole story seems to have begun with the revelations about the “Yellow House”.   In February
2004, an exploratory visit to the site was organised jointly by the ICTY and UNMIK, with the participation of a
journalist.   This  visit  cannot  in  fact  be  regarded  as  a  proper  forensic  examination  according  to  all  the
technical  rules.   Participants  in  the  visit  whom  we  interviewed  explicitly  condemned  a  certain  lack  of
professionalism, particularly  regarding  the  taking of samples and  the  recording of scientific observations.
Nonetheless, the demeanour of some members of the Katuqi family, who inhabit the house, raised a number
The figures quoted here were provided by the Office of Missing Persons and Forensics (OMPF), with regard to cases still unresolved
at the beginning of 2010.  The ICRC speaks of about 1000 missing persons after KFOR’s arrival, most of them Serbs but also Albanian
Kosovars regarded as “traitors”.
The Office for Missing Persons and Forensics (OMPF) is currently co-headed by a EULEX official and a Kosovar official; this body was
created, we were told, “to clean up the mess left behind by UNMIK and the ICTY”.
This difficulty was said to be most acute with regard to cases that arose during the period of “chaos” from June to late October 1999.
KFOR soldiers were evidently unqualified to carry out police work and their crime scene reports were said to be mostly unusable.
An example with which we were confronted during our fact-finding visit to Pristina concerned excavations in a mineshaft where some
thirty bodies of deceased Serbs were said to be buried. The local construction companies employed to do the work were threatened by
members of  the  local community, which caused considerable delay  in carrying out  the explorations. According  to what we have been
told,  the prevailing attitude among  the Kosovar population  is  to regard as a “traitor” anyone who provides  information regarding mass
graves containing Serb victims.
Eulex investigators informed us that the level of co-operation from the Albanian authorities was “nil”.  The reply, after several months,
to a request for international legal assistance (concerning the camp at Kukës) was that the requested investigations were “delayed by a
natural disaster”.  Other international officials also confirmed the “strong resistance” of the Kosovar authorities to co-operating in efforts
to  solve  cases  of missing Serbs  or  alleged Kosovar Albanian  “traitors”. The  consistent  refrain  of  the Albanian  authorities  towards
“Albania never allowed exhumations in its territory. There was no war here, so there are no graves to look for”.
There is said to exist some degree of reluctance even within the OMPF concerning the disappearances  that occurred after 12 June
1999.AS/Jur (2010) 46 10
of questions, notably about the differing and contradictory explanations they offered, one after the other, as
to the presence of bloodstains (detected by use of Luminol) in the vicinity of a table in the main room. The
family  patriarch  stated  originally  that  farm  animals  had  been  slaughtered  and  cut  up  there.  Another
explanation given was that one of the women in the household had given birth to one of her children in the
same place.
17. Neither the ICTY nor UNMIK, nor indeed the Albanian Public Prosecutor’s Office, followed up this visit
by  conducting  any more  thorough  inquiries.  The  Albanian  investigator  who  took  part  in  this  site  visit
moreover hastened  to assert publicly  that no  leads of any  kind had been  found.   The physical  samples
collected at the scene were subsequently destroyed by the ICTY, after being photographed, as the current
Chief  Prosecutor  of  the  ICTY  confirmed  to  me  in  a  letter
We  must  permit  ourselves  to  express   .
astonishment that such a step was taken.
18. Nor did  the  team of  the Special Prosecutor  for War Crimes  in Belgrade come up with very concrete
results  in  this matter, notwithstanding  their considerable efforts.   The media whirlwind  that surrounded  the
inquiry  certainly  did  nothing  to  enhance  its  effectiveness.   We  thank  the  special  prosecutor  for  his  cooperation and readiness to assist.
19. The  teams  of  international  prosecutors  and  investigators  in  the  EULEX  mission  charged  with
investigating  the allegations of  inhuman  treatment,  including  those  relating  to possible  instances of organ
trafficking,  have made  some  progress,  notably  towards  proving  the  existence  of  secret  KLA  detention
facilities in northern Albania, where murders are also alleged to have been committed.  However, EULEX’s
inquiries have so far been hampered by a lack of co-operation on the part of the Albanian authorities, who
have failed to respond to the specific, detailed requests for judicial assistance submitted to them.  At the time
of writing, EULEX has still not had access to the complete set of records compiled by the ICTY in this area of
20. A further investigation, also carried out by EULEX, into the case of the Medicus Clinic in Pristina, has
been made similarly difficult by the delays on the part of the authorities of several Council of Europe member
and observer countries in responding to EULEX requests for international legal assistance
Considering the .
gravity of  the acts alleged –  trafficking  in human organs, no  less – such delays are  incomprehensible and
unconscionable.  It should be recalled  that  the  initial  investigation had  led  to several arrests of suspects  in
November 2008. Arrest warrants have since been  issued  in  respect of other suspects currently at  large
This investigation serves as further proof of the existence in the region of criminal structures and networks, in
which medical practitioners are also  implicated, operating  in  the region as part of an  international  traffic  in
human organs, notwithstanding  the presence of  international  forces.  We believe  that  there are sufficiently
serious  and  substantial  indications  to  demonstrate  that  that  this  form  of  trafficking  long  pre-dates  the
Medicus case, and that certain KLA leaders and affiliates have been implicated in it previously. Certainly the
indications are  too strong  to countenance any  failure, at  long  last,  to conduct a serious,  independent and
thorough inquiry.
21. We have learned at first hand how difficult it is to reconstruct events in Kosovo during the troubled and
chaotic period of 1999-2000. With the exception of a few EULEX investigators, there has been and remains
a  lack of  resolve  to ascertain  the  truth of what happened during  that period, and assign  responsibilities
accordingly.  The raft of evidence that exists against certain top KLA leaders appears largely to account for
this  reluctance.   There were witnesses  to  the events who were eliminated, and others  too  terrified by  the
mere  fact  of  being  questioned  on  these  events. Such witnesses  have  no  confidence whatsoever  in  the
protective measures that they might be granted.  We ourselves had to take meticulous precautions in respect
of certain interlocutors to assure them of the strictest anonymity.  We nevertheless found them trustworthy
and were able to establish that their statements were confirmed by objectively verifiable facts. Our aim was
not, however,  to conduct a criminal  investigation. But we can claim  to have gathered compelling enough
evidence to demand forcefully that the international bodies and the states concerned finally take every step
to ensure that the truth is ascertained and the culprits clearly identified and called to account for their acts.
The signs of collusion between  the criminal class and high political and  institutional office bearers are  too
numerous and too serious to be ignored. It is a fundamental right of Kosovo’s citizens to know the truth, the
Serge Brammertz,  ICTY Chief Prosecutor,  in a  letter  to me dated 17 December 2009.   In an  interview  I had with Madam Carla Del
Ponte in 2009, the former Chief Prosecutor assured me that the materials in question should be stored in the ICTY’s archives and that
their destruction was simply inconceivable.
Such  requests were made  in March 2009  to  the  following countries: Belarus, Canada,  Israel, Germany, Moldova, Poland, Russian
Federation, and Turkey.  At the time of writing, only Canada was said to have provided a satisfactory response.
See the EULEX press release of 15 October 2010: http://www.eulex-kosovo.eu/en/pressreleases/0098.php; and the report by Nebi
Qena (AP), “ 12 November 2010: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101112/ap_on_re_eu/eu_kosovo_organ_trafficking/print11 AS/Jur (2010) 46
whole  truth,  and  also  an  indispensable  condition  for  reconciliation  between  the  communities  and  the
country’s prosperous future.
22. Before going into further detail regarding our investigations, I should like to express my appreciation to
all those who helped me in carrying out this difficult and delicate assignment.  First and foremost I thank the
Committee Secretariat, assisted by an outside expert, as well as the authorities of the states we visited, and
the able, courageous  investigative  journalists who shared certain  information with us.   I also owe special
gratitude to the persons who have trusted in our professionalism, not least in our earnest duty to protect their
identities so as not to place them in any danger.
2. Introductory commentary on sources
23. In  the course of our  inquiry, we have obtained  testimonial and documentary accounts  from several
dozen  primary  sources,  notably  including:  combatants  and  affiliates  of  various  armed  factions  that
participated  in  the  hostilities  in  Kosovo;  direct  victims  of  violent  crimes  committed  in  Kosovo  and  the
surrounding territories; family members of missing or deceased persons; current and former representatives
of  international  justice  institutions with  jurisdiction over  the events  in Kosovo  [primarily  the United Nations
Mission  in  Kosovo  (UNMIK),  the  European Union Rule  of  Law Mission  (EULEX),  and  the  International
Criminal Tribunal  for  the Former Yugoslavia  (ICTY)]; representatives of national  justice systems,  including
prosecutors with jurisdiction over events related to Kosovo [Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor in Belgrade;
Office of the General Prosecutor in Tirana; prosecutors, police officers and state security officials in Pristina
and  in  three surrounding states]; humanitarian agencies  [including  the  International Committee of  the Red
Cross (ICRC) and the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP)]; and various members of civil
society and human rights monitoring bodies who have investigated and reported on events related to Kosovo
in the material period [including the Humanitarian Law Centre].
24. Naturally we have tried wherever possible to take these testimonies directly ourselves, either through
on-the-record meetings or through confidential interviews, in the course of visiting Pristina, Tirana, Belgrade
and other parts of the Balkan region.  However, for a variety of reasons – including their “disappearance”, for
security reasons, their relocation overseas, and the constraints of our official programme of meetings while
on mission in the region – some of the sources who provided these testimonies have not been available to
meet with us in person.
25. Moreover, we have faced the same obstacles to obtaining truthful testimony about the alleged crimes
of Kosovar Albanians as have other investigative bodies throughout the past decade.  The entrenched sense
of loyalty to one’s clansmen, and the concept of honour that was perhaps best captured in expert reporting to
the  ICTY  in  its  deliberations  in  the  case  of  Limaj  et.  al.,
rendered most  ethnic  Albanian  witnesses
unreachable for us.  Having seen two prominent prosecutions undertaken by the ICTY leading to the deaths
of so many witnesses, and ultimately a failure to deliver justice
, a Parliamentary Assembly Rapporteur with
only paltry resources in comparison was hardly likely to overturn the odds of such witnesses speaking to us
26. Numerous persons who have worked  for many years  in Kosovo, and who have become among  the
most  respected commentators on  justice  in  the  region, counseled us  that organized criminal networks of
Albanians (“the Albanian mafia”) in Albania itself, in neighbouring territories including Kosovo and ‘the former
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’, and  in  the Diaspora, were probably more difficult  to penetrate  than  the
Cosa Nostra; even low-level operatives would rather take a jail term of decades, or a conviction for contempt,
than turn in their clansmen.
27. Thus, out of necessity and only where appropriate, we have relied on audio and video recordings of
interviews with key sources conducted by others.  In such instances we have undertaken every possible step
to establish  the  identity, authenticity and credibility of  the sources  for ourselves; we have compared  their
testimonies  with  information  from  separate,  independent  sources  of  which  they  could  have  had  no
knowledge;  and  we  have  gained  first-hand  insights  from  the  interviewers  into  the  circumstances  and
conditions in which the interviews were conducted.
 See Expert Report quoted in the Limaj judgement.
Carla del Ponte herself said of  the Limaj trial  that  “the  impunity  that  feeds upon  fear was allowed  to prevail”:  see del Ponte and
Sudetic, The Hunt, Chapter 11: Confronting Kosovo, at page 26.AS/Jur (2010) 46 12
28. The  interviewers  who  conducted  these  interviews  include  representatives  of  law  enforcement
authorities  in several different countries, academic researchers, and  investigative  journalists of recognised
repute and credibility.  We have always insisted on corroboration of testimony.
3. Detailed findings of our inquiry
3.1 The overall picture
29. The overall picture  that emerges  from our  inquiry differs dramatically  in  several  respects  from  the
conventional portrayal of the Kosovo conflict.  Indeed, while there was certainly an intensely fought battle for
the  destiny  of  the  territory  of Kosovo,  there were  very  few  instances  in which  opposing  armed  factions
confronted one another on any kind of military frontlines.
30. The abhorrent abuses of the Serb military and police structures in trying to subjugate and ultimately to
expel the ethnic Albanian population of Kosovo are well known and documented.
31. The evidence we have uncovered  is perhaps most significant  in  that  it often contradicts  the muchtouted image of the Kosovo Liberation Army, or KLA, as a guerrilla army that fought valiantly to defend the
right of its people to inhabit the territory of Kosovo.
32. While there were undoubtedly numerous brave soldiers who were willing to go to the warfront, in the
face  of  considerable  adversity,  and  if  necessary  die  for  the  cause  of  an  independent Kosovar Albanian
motherland, these fighters were not necessarily in the majority.
33. From  the  testimony we have managed  to amass,  the policy and strategy of some KLA  leaders were
much more complex than a simple agenda to overpower their Serb oppressors.
34. On the one hand, the KLA leadership coveted recognition and support from foreign partners including,
notably,  the  United  States  Government.   Towards  this  end  the  KLA’s  internationally  well-connected
“spokesmen” had to fulfil certain promises to their partners and sponsors, and / or adhere to particular terms
of engagement that were the de facto conditions of their receiving support from overseas.
35. On the other hand, though, a number of the senior commanders of the KLA have reportedly not failed
to profit from the war, including by securing material and personal benefits for themselves.  They wanted to
secure access  to  resources  for  themselves and  their  family  / clan members, notably  through positions of
power  in political office, or  in  lucrative  industries such as petroleum, construction and  real estate.   They
wanted to avenge what they perceived as historical injustices perpetrated against the Albanian population in
the  former Yugoslavia.   And many of  them were seemingly bent on profiteering  to  the maximum of  their
potential while  they  had  operational  control  of  certain  lawless  territories  (e.g.  in  parts  of  southern  and
western  Kosovo),  and  leverage  –  especially  in  terms  of  financial  resources  –  with  which  to  negotiate
footholds for themselves in other territories (e.g. in Albania).
36. The reality is that the most significant operational activities undertaken by members of the KLA – prior
to, during, and in the immediate aftermath of the conflict – took place on the territory of Albania, where the
Serb security forces were never deployed.
3.2 KLA factionalism and the nexus with organised crime
37. For more  than  two years after  its  initial emergence  in 1996,  the KLA was  regarded as a marginal,
loosely organised  insurgency, whose attacks on  the Yugoslav  state were held by Western observers  to
amount to acts of “terrorism”.
38. Our sources close to the KLA, along with the testimonies of captured KLA members gathered by Serb
police,  confirm  that  the main  locations  at which KLA  recruits  congregated  and  trained were  in  northern
39. It  is well established  that weapons and ammunition were smuggled  into parts of Kosovo, often on
horseback,  through clandestine, mountainous  routes  from northern Albania.   Serb police attributed  these
events to criminal raids on the part of bandits who wanted to carry out terrorist acts against Serbian security13 AS/Jur (2010) 46
forces.   The  Albanian  Kosovars  and  Albanian  citizens who were  involved  in  the  smuggling  operations
presented them as heroic acts of resistance in the face of Serb oppression.
40. The  domestic  strengthening  of  the KLA,  in  terms  of  its  fighting  capability  as well  as  its  credibility
among  the Kosovo Albanian population, seemed  to play out, especially  in  the course of 1998, along  the
same trajectory as the escalating brutality of the Serb military and police clampdown.
41. Yet only in the second half of 1998, through explicit endorsements from Western powers, founded on
strong  lobbying  from  the United States, did  the KLA secure  its pre-eminence  in  international perception as
the vanguard of the Kosovar Albanian liberation struggle.
42. This  perceived  pre-eminence was  the  KLA’s most  valuable,  indispensable  asset.   It  spurred  the
wealthiest donors  in  the Albanian Diaspora  to channel significant  funds  to  the KLA.   It bestowed  individual
KLA representatives with an enhanced authority to speak and act on behalf of the Kosovar Albanians as a
whole.  And it cast the KLA’s leading personalities as the most likely powerbrokers in the Kosovo that would
emerge from the war.
43. Indeed, the perception of KLA pre-eminence – largely created by the Americans – was a self-fulfilling
prophecy,  the  bedrock  upon which  the  KLA  achieved  actual  ascendancy  over  other  Kosovar  Albanian
constituencies with designs on power, such as Ibrahim Rugova’s Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) and
Bujar Bukoshi’s “Government-in-exile”.
44. According  to  our  insider  sources,  the KLA  fought  just  as  hard,  and  devoted  arguably more  of  its
resources and political capital,  to maintain  its advantage over  its ethnic Albanian  rival  factions as  it did  to
carry out co-ordinated military actions against the Serbs.
45. At  the  same  time  it  should be  restated,  for emphasis,  that  the Kosovo Liberation Army was not a
single, unitary combatant  faction  in  the manner of a conventional Army.  There was no  formally appointed
overall  leader,  or  “commander-in-chief”,  whose  authority  was  universally  recognised  by  the  other
commanders and whose orders were met with compliance among all the rank and file.
46. Rather,  as  the  struggle  over  Kosovo’s  future  governance  evolved,  and  a  full-blown  conflict
approached, the KLA was divided by a deep-rooted internal factionalism.
47. Important sources of division included divergent political ambitions, as well as disparate notions of the
acceptable  parameters  of  violent  resistance,  on  the  part  of  the KLA’s most  prominent  personalities  and
leadership contenders.
48. Thus  there  emerged  in  1998  and  1999,  and  particularly  in  the  wake  of  the  death  of  the  KLA’s
celebrated peasant commander Adem Jashari
, several different KLA “splinter groups”.
49. Each of  these splinter groups was  led by one of  the KLA’s self-proclaimed  founder members.  Each
group comprised a  loyal core of  recruits and supporters, often drawn  from among a  few closely affiliated
clans  or  families,  and  /  or  concentrated  in  an  identifiable  geographical  territory  of Kosovo.   Each  group
identified their own leader as the brightest hope to lead the KLA’s fight against the Serbs, and by extension,
to  achieve  self-determination  for  the  Kosovar  Albanian  people, whilst  co-operating with  the  other  KLA
commanders on the basis of expediency.
50. Evidently  it  is  the  composition  and  leadership  of  these  KLA  “splinter  groups”,  along  with  the
pre-existing popularity of  the LDK, which carried over beyond  the  liberation struggle and have essentially
shaped the post-conflict political landscape of Kosovo
51. Incumbency of  the highest executive offices  in Kosovo has been shared among  former  leading KLA
commanders  for  the  last decade, and most political campaigns have been contested on  the basis of  the
The KLA had grown domestically throughout most of the 1990s by rallying the support of volunteer fighters – men of all ages in their
respective villages –  to coalesce around  leaders  like Adem JASHARI and  form small armed units, or “brigades” across  the  territory of
Kosovo.   Many of  the  recruits  to  this  “homeland KLA”, effectively a peasant army, undertook guerrilla warfare  training at  camps  in
northern Albania, and smuggled arms into Kosovo with which to undertake acts of violent resistance.  Our inquiry received more than a
dozen testimonies of ethnic Albanian males who had taken part in this campaign of “resistance”.  With the killing of Jashari and scores
of his family members and associates in a clampdown by Serb security forces in1998, this initial incarnation of the KLA was effectively
ended, and has gravitated into folklore as a romantic notion of Kosovar liberation, with Jashari as its martyr.
The main rival political parties in recent election cycles have included the Democratic Party of Kosovo (Partia Demokratike e Kosovës,
or PDK), and the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (Aleanca për Ardhmërinë e Kosovës, or AAK), both of which are led by commanders
of former KLA “splinter groups” and count large number of former KLA operatives among their members.AS/Jur (2010) 46 14
candidates’ respective contributions to the liberation struggle, as well as the extent to which they are seen as
being able to promote the interests of the Kosovar Albanian people on an ongoing basis against known and
unknown adversaries.
52. The various KLA “splinter groups” I refer to have been found to have developed and maintained their
own intelligence structures, among other forms of self-preservation.  Through whatever means available to
them, and clearly on the fringes of the legal and regulatory systems, the keenest purveyors of this de  facto
form of continued KLA warfare have conducted surveillance of, and often sought to sabotage, the activities
of their opponents and those who might jeopardise their political or business interests.
53. Furthermore we  found
that  the structures of KLA units had been shaped,  to a significant degree,
according to the hierarchies, allegiances and codes of honour that prevail among the ethnic Albanian clans,
or extended families, and which form a de  facto set of laws, known as the Kanun, in the regions of Kosovo
from which their commanders originated.
54. Based  on  analytical  information  we  received  from  several  international  monitoring  missions,
corroborated by our own sources  in European  law enforcement agencies and among  former KLA  fighters,
we  found  that  the main KLA units and  their respective zones of operational command corresponded  in an
almost perfect mirror  image  to  the  structures  that  controlled  the  various  forms of organised  crime  in  the
territories in which the KLA was active.
55. Put simply, establishing which circle of KLA commanders and affiliates was  in charge of a particular
region where  the KLA operated  in Kosovo, and  indeed  in certain parts of  the Republic of Albania, was  the
key  to  understanding  who  was  running  the  bulk  of  the  particular  trafficking  or  smuggling  activity  that
flourished there.
56. Most  pertinent  to  our  research,  we  found  that  a  small  but  inestimably  powerful  group  of  KLA
personalities apparently wrested control of most of the illicit criminal enterprises in which Kosovar Albanians
were involved in the Republic of Albania, beginning at the latest in 1998.
57. This group of prominent KLA personalities styled  itself as  the “Drenica Group”, evoking connections
with the Drenica Valley in Kosovo
, a traditional heartland of ethnic Albanian resistance to Serb oppression
under Milosevic, and the birthplace of the KLA.
58. We  found  that  the  “Drenica Group” had as  its chief – or,  to use  the  terminology of organised crime
networks,  its  “boss”  –  the  renowned  political  operator  and  perhaps  most  internationally  recognised
personality of the KLA, Hashim Thaqi
59. Thaqi  can  be  seen  to  have  spearheaded  the  KLA’s  rise  to  pre-eminence  in  the  lead-up  to  the
Rambouillet negotiations, both on  the ground  in Kosovo, and overseas.   He also did much  to  foment  the
bitter internal factionalism that characterised the KLA throughout 1998 and 1999.
60. On  the  one  hand, Thaqi  undoubtedly  owed  his  personal  elevation  to having  secured  political  and
diplomatic endorsement
from  the United States  and  other Western  powers,  as  the  preferred  domestic
partner in their foreign policy project in Kosovo.  This form of political support bestowed upon Thaqi, not least
in his own mind, a sense of being “untouchable” and an unparalleled viability as Kosovo’s post-war leader-inwaiting.
61. On  the  other  hand,  according  to  well-substantiated  intelligence  reports  that  we  have  examined
thoroughly and corroborated through interviews in the course of our inquiry, Thaqi’s “Drenica Group” built a
formidable power base in the organised criminal enterprises that were flourishing in Kosovo and Albania at
the time.
We have noted the remarkable confessions of a man named Nazim Bllaca, who came forward last year and testified as to the use of
these intelligence structures in targeted killings and different forms of racketeering; Bllaca’s depiction of this secret underworld is one we
recognise from our own research.
In  this  regard our  findings correspond with  those of  international  representatives of military and  intelligence monitoring missions –
from NATO’s Kosovo Stabilisation Force  (KFOR),  to  the Organisation  for Security and Cooperation  in Europe  (OSCE),  to  the United
States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) – in reports published at various points over the last fifteen years.
In Kosovo  itself,  the area of  influence of  the Drenica Group and  its affiliates went on  to extend  far beyond  that particular  locale,
however: they exercised firm control over criminal cartels active in municipalities including, but not limited to, Istok, Srbica, Skenderaj,
Klina, Prizren and Pristina.
 See Le Monde  11 December 2010.
 Thaqi was, for example, named as head delegate of the Kosovar Albanians to the Rambouillet Summit.15 AS/Jur (2010) 46
62. In  this  regard, Thaqi  reportedly operated with support and complicity not only  from Albania’s  formal
governance  structures,  including  the Socialist Government  in power at  the  time, but also  from Albania’s
secret services, and from the formidable Albanian mafia.
63. Many KLA  commanders  remained on Albanian  territory,  some even operating out of  the Albanian
capital Tirana, throughout the ensuing hostilities and beyond.
64. During the period of the NATO aerial bombardment, which lasted several weeks, perhaps the principal
shift in the balance of power in Kosovo occurred as a result of the influx of foreigners into the region, in both
overt and implicit support of the KLA cause. Unable to gain access directly to the territory of Kosovo, most of
this foreign support was channelled through Albania.
65. In  tacit  acknowledgement  of  the  safe  harbour  afforded  to  them  by  the  sympathetic  Albanian
authorities, but also because  it was more practical and more convenient  for  them  to continue operating on
the  terrain  with  which  they  were  familiar,  several  of  the  KLA’s  key  commanders  allegedly  established
protection rackets in the areas where their own clansmen were prevalent in Albania, or where they could find
common cause with established organised criminals involved in such activities as human trafficking, sale of
stolen motor vehicles, and the sex trade.
66. Notably, in confidential reports spanning more than a decade, agencies dedicated to combating drug
smuggling in at least five countries have named Hashim Thaqi and other members of his “Drenica Group” as
having exerted violent control over the trade in heroin and other narcotics
67. Similarly,  intelligence  analysts working  for NATO,  as well  as  those  in  the  service  of  at  least  four
independent  foreign Governments, made compelling  findings  through  their  intelligence-gathering related  to
the  immediate  aftermath  of  the  conflict  in  1999.
   Thaqi was  commonly  identified,  and  cited  in  secret
intelligence reports, as the most dangerous of the KLA’s “criminal bosses”.
68. Several further known members of Thaqi’s “Drenica Group” have been indicated to us in the course of
our  research  to have played vital  roles as co-conspirators  in various categories of criminal activity.   They
include  Xhavit  HALITI,  Kadri  VESELI,  Azem  SYLA,  and  Fatmir  LIMAJ.   All  of  these men  have  been
investigated  repeatedly  in  the  last  decade  as  suspects  in war  crimes  or  organised  criminal  enterprises,
including  in major cases  led by prosecutors under UNMIK,  the  ICTY
, and EULEX.   To  the present day,
however, all of them have evaded effective justice.
69. Everything leads us to believe that all of these men would have been convicted of serious crimes and
would by now be serving  lengthy prison sentences, but  for  two shocking dynamics  that have consolidated
their impunity: first, they appear to have succeeded in eliminating, or intimidating into silence, the majority of
the potential and actual witnesses against them (both enemies and erstwhile allies), using violence, threats,
blackmail,  and  protection  rackets;  and  second,  faltering  political  will  on  the  part  of  the  international
community to effectively prosecute the former leaders of the KLA. This also seems to have allowed Thaqi –
and by extension  the other members of  the   “Drenica Group”  to exploit  their position  in order  to accrue
personal wealth totally out of proportion with their declared activities.
70. Thaqi  and  these  other  “Drenica  Group”  members  are  consistently  named  as  “key  players”  in
intelligence reports on Kosovo’s mafia-like structures of organised crime.
   I have examined these diverse,
voluminous reports with consternation and a sense of moral outrage.
For example, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said in a report in spring 1999 that drug smuggling organisations composed
of Kosovo's ethnic Albanians were considered  “second only  to Turkish gangs as  the predominant heroin smugglers along  the Balkan
 They include the German (BND), Italian (Sismi), British (MI6) and Greek (EYP) intelligence services.
  See, e.g., the report of the IEP (Institut für Europäische Politik, Berlin) of 9 January 2007 prepared for the German Federal Ministry of
Defence   (“Operationalisierung von Security Sector Reform  (SSR) auf dem Westlichen Balkan –  intelligente/kreative Ansätze  für eine
langfristig positive Gestaltung dieser Region”); document classified as secret and yet accessible on  Internet; at page 57  the authors
indicate that "Thaqi is considered, in security circles, as much more dangerous than Haradinaj, who as former head of KLA possesses a
wider  international  network."  (my  own  translation)  Another  report  of  the  German  secret  service  (Bundesnachrichtendienst/BND),
similarly  available  on  Internet  (BND Analyse  vom  22.02.2005),  names Messrs Thaqi, Haliti  and Haradinaj  as  key  personalities  of
organised crime in Kosovo and explores in particular, in 27 pages of thorough analysis, the ramifications of the "Drenica Group". We did
not limit ourselves to the study of these reports, and other sources, but we interviewed a number of persons who had been involved, at
ground  level, in the preparation of these reports.
Fatmir  Limaj,  a  former  senior-ranking  KLA  commander, was  indicted,  tried  and  ultimately  acquitted  by  the  ICTY  in  a  trial  that
encountered many problems with the integrity of evidence.
In  the  course  of  the  last  ten  years,  intelligence  services  from  several Western  European  countries,  law  enforcement  agencies
including  the Federal Bureau of  Investigation  (FBI)  in  the United States, and analysts of  several nationalities working within NATO
structures have prepared authoritative, well-sourced, corroborated reports on the unlawful activities of this “Drenica Group”.AS/Jur (2010) 46 16
71. What  is  particularly  confounding  is  that  all  of  the  international  community  in  Kosovo  –  from  the
Governments of the United States and other allied Western powers, to the EU-backed justice authorities –
undoubtedly  possess  the  same,  overwhelming  documentation  of  the  full  extent  of  the Drenica Group’s
, but none seems prepared  to  react  in  the  face of such a situation and  to hold  the perpetrators  to
72. Our  first-hand sources alone have credibly  implicated Haliti, Veseli, Syla and Limaj, alongside Thaqi
and  other members  of  his  inner  circle,  in  having  ordered  –  and  in  some  cases  personally  overseen  –
assassinations, detentions, beatings and interrogations in various parts of Kosovo and, of particular interest
to our work, in the context of KLA-led operations on the territory of Albania, between 1998 and 2000.
73. Members of the “Drenica Group” are also said to have asserted control of substantial funds placed at
the disposal of the KLA to support its war effort.
  In several instances this group was allegedly able to strike
deals with established international networks of organised criminals, enabling expansion and diversification
into new areas of “business”, and the opening of new smuggling routes into other parts of Europe.
74. Specifically,  in  our  determination,  the  leaders  of  the  “Drenica Group”  seem  to  bear  the  greatest
responsibility for two sets of unacknowledged crimes described in this report: for running the KLA’s ad hoc
network of detention facilities on the territory of Albania
; and for determining the fate of the prisoners who
were held in those facilities, including the many abducted civilians brought over the border into Albania from
75. In understanding how  these crimes descended  into a  further  form of  inhumanity, namely  the  forcible
extraction of human organs for the purposes of trafficking, we have identified another KLA personality who
apparently belongs to the leading co-conspirators: Shaip MUJA.
76. Up  to a point, Shaip Muja’s personal biography  in  the  liberation struggle of  the Kosovar Albanians
resembles those of other “Drenica Group” members, including Hashim Thaqi himself: from student activist in
the early 1990s
; to one of an elite group of KLA “Co-ordinators”, based in Albania
; to Cabinet member of
the Provisional Government of Kosovo, and  leading commander  in  the post-war Kosovo Protection Corps
; reinvented as a civilian politician in the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK); and, finally, becoming
an influential office-holder in the current Kosovo authorities
77. The common thread running through all of Muja’s roles is his involvement in the medical sector.  We
do not  take  it  lightly  that  this  individual presents himself, and  is accepted  in many quarters, as  “Dr. Shaip
Muja”: purportedly not only a medical doctor and general surgeon, but also a humanitarian and progressive
At a minimum, there is solid documentary evidence to demonstrate the involvement of this group, and its financial sponsors, in money
laundering,  smuggling  of  drugs  and  cigarettes,  human  trafficking,  prostitution,  and  the  violent monopolisation  of Kosovo’s  largest
economic sectors including vehicle fuel and construction.
Primarily these funds had been generated through contributions from the Kosovo Diaspora, and were held in foreign bank accounts,
including  in Germany and Switzerland.    The  finances available  to Thaqi’s  inner circle  increased dramatically with  the creation of a
dedicated KLA fund known as Atdheu Thërret ("Homeland Calls").
It  is apt  that  I should acknowledge  the excellent  journalistic  investigation of  the Balkan  Insight Reporters’ Network  (BIRN), which
reported on elements of  the KLA’s network of detention camps  in Albania  in April 2009  (Altin Raxhimi, Vladimir Karaj, and Michael
While Thaqi attended the University of Pristina and became identified as a leader in the Kosovar Albanian student movement, Muja
studied cardiology at the University of Tirana and associated himself with the more militant elements of the Albanian resistance to Serb
oppression in Kosovo.
Muja was the overall “Medical Co-ordinator” for the KLA General Staff, a post in which he oversaw the provision of medical treatment
for wounded KLA soldiers, as well as other emergency cases in KLA operational zones.  Muja notably made use of the Military Hospital
in Tirana, Albania, and administered extensive supplies and equipment acquired by  the KLA  through  foreign donations.  During 1998
and 1999, as the official representative of the KLA, supported by elements in the Albanian Army and the Albanian secret services, Muja
also  administered  a  diverse  array  of  other  infrastructure:  at  least  one  helicopter;  several  well-funded  construction  projects;  and
makeshift accommodation arrangements – including private houses and apartments – for KLA commanders, recruits and affiliates who
travelled into Albania from overseas, including those en route to Kosovo.
Muja acted both as  the Health  / Medical Co-ordinator  for  the Provisional Government of Kosovo, under provisional Prime Minister
Thaqi, and as Commander of the 40th Medical Battalion of the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC).
At the time of writing, in December 2010, Shaip Muja serves in the administration of Hashim Thaqi as a senior Political Advisor in the
Office of the Prime Minister, with responsibility inter alia for the Health portfolio.
Muja  is widely credited,  for example, with having played a  role  in  the  introduction of a  “telemedicine” system  to Kosovo, whereby
health and surgical services can be administered with the assistance of doctors in remote locations, using Internet technology to link the
participants.17 AS/Jur (2010) 46
78. We have uncovered numerous convergent indications of Muja’s central role for more than a decade in
far less laudable international networks, comprising human traffickers, brokers of illicit surgical procedures,
and other perpetrators of organised crime.
79. These indications and elements of proof have prompted us to suspect that Muja has derived much of
his  access,  his  cover  and  his  impunity  as  an  organised  criminal  from  having maintained  an  apparently
legitimate medical “career”  in parallel.   There  is an analogy  to be drawn here with  the way  that Thaqi and
other  Drenica  Group  members  have  used  their  own  roles  in  public  office,  and  often  in  international
diplomacy.  The difference in Muja’s case is that his profile in organised crime is scarcely known outside of
the criminal networks he has worked with and the few investigators who have tracked them.
80. According to the testimonies of our sources who were party to KLA operations in Albania, as well as
other military and political compatriots who know Shaip Muja intimately, Muja managed to acquire and retain
crucial behind-the-scenes influence over the affairs of the KLA in the defining period in the late 1990s when it
was garnering international support.
81. Then, in the period of hostilities in northern Albania and around the Kosovo border, coinciding with the
NATO  intervention  in 1999, Muja,  in common with most of his  fellow KLA commanders,  reportedly stayed
well clear of the frontlines, maintaining the KLA’s operational power base in Tirana.
82. Together with Haliti and Veseli, in particular, Muja became involved in finding innovative ways to make
use of, and  to  invest,  the millions of dollars of  “war  funds”  that had been donated  to  the KLA cause  from
overseas.  Muja and Veseli reportedly also began, on behalf of  the “Drenica Group”,  to make connections
with foreign private military and private security companies
83. We  found  it  particularly  relevant  that  Thaqi’s  “Drenica Group”  can  be  seen  to  have  seized  such
advantage from two principal changes in circumstances after 12 June 1999.
84. First, the withdrawal of the Serb security forces from Kosovo had ceded into the hands of various KLA
splinter groups,  including Thaqi’s  “Drenica Group”, effectively unfettered control of an expanded  territorial
area in which to carry out various forms of smuggling and trafficking.
85. KFOR and UNMIK were incapable of administering Kosovo’s law enforcement, movement of peoples,
or border control, in the aftermath of the NATO bombardment in 1999.  KLA factions and splinter groups that
had control of distinct areas of Kosovo  (villages, stretches of  road, sometimes even  individual buildings)
were able to run organised criminal enterprises almost at will, including in disposing of the trophies of their
perceived victory over the Serbs.
86. Second, Thaqi’s acquisition of a greater degree of political authority (Thaqi having appointed himself
Prime Minister of the Provisional Government of Kosovo) had seemingly emboldened the “Drenica Group” to
strike  out  all  the  more  aggressively  at  perceived  rivals,  traitors,  and  persons  suspected  of  being
“collaborators” with the Serbs.
87. Our sources told us that both KLA commanders and rank-and-file members were exasperated by the
heavy  toll  inflicted on  the ethnic Albanian population of Kosovo, particularly  in 1998 and early 1999 before
and during the NATO intervention.  As the Serb police and paramilitary forces retreated from Kosovo in June
1999, KLA units from northern Albania were deployed into Kosovo with the ostensible objective of “securing
the  territory”,  but  fuelled  by  an  irrepressible  anger,  and  even  vengeance,  towards  anyone  whom  they
believed had contributed towards the oppression of the ethnic Albanian people.
88. Serb  inhabitants of predominantly ethnic Albanian communities quickly became  targets  for revenge.
Other  targets  included anybody suspected – even upon  the basis of baseless accusations by members of
rival  clans or persons who held  long-standing  vendettas against  them – of having  “collaborated with” or
served Serb  officialdom.   In  a  door-to-door  campaign  of  intimidation, KLA  foot  soldiers were  ordered  to
collect names of persons who had worked for the ousted FRY authorities (in however trivial an administrative
function), or whose  relatives or associates had done so.   Into  this category of putative  “collaborators”  fell
large numbers of ethnic Albanians, as well as Roma and other minorities.
The combined influence of Muja and Veseli in this regard endured through the transitional phase of the Kosovo Protection Corps; both
men were central to the design of the intelligence structures and strategic decision-making mechanisms inside the PDK party.  Among
the external parties  they are  reported  to have engaged are members of  the Albanian secret services, American private military and
security companies, and Israeli intelligence experts.AS/Jur (2010) 46 18
89. Against this background, our account of abuses committed by KLA members and affiliates in Albania
goes  well  beyond  one-off  aberrations  on  the  part  of  rogue  or  renegade  elements  within  an  otherwise
disciplined fighting force.  On the contrary, we find these abuses widespread enough to constitute a pattern.
90. While certain acts speak  to a particular brutality or disregard  for  the victims on  the part of  individual
perpetrators, we find that in their general character these abuses were seemingly co-ordinated and covered
up according  to a premeditated, albeit evolving, overarching strategy on  the part of  the  leadership of  the
Drenica Group.
91. In general  terms,  the abuses were symptomatic of  the prevalence of organised criminality  inside  the
KLA’s  dominant  internal  faction.   Holding  persons  captive  in makeshift  places  of  detention,  outside  the
knowledge or reach of authority, and contriving ways of silencing anyone who might have  found out about
the  true  nature  of  the  illicit  activities  in  which  the  captors  are  engaged,  count  as  tried  and  trusted
methodologies of most mafia structures – and the Drenica Group was no different.
92. The Drenica Group  itself apparently evolved  from being part of an armed  force,  the KLA (ostensibly
engaged  in a war of  liberation),  into being a conspicuously powerful band of criminal entrepreneurs,  the
Drenica Group  (albeit  one  with  designs  on  a  form  of  “state  capture”).  In  parallel  we  have  detected  a
transformation in the Group’s members’ activities in one particular area of operations: detention facilities and
the inhuman treatment of captives.
3.3. Detention facilities and the inhuman treatment of captives
93. In the course of our inquiry we have identified at least six separate detention facilities on the territory
of the Republic of Albania, situated across a territory that spans from Cahan at the foot of Mount Pashtrik,
almost at the northernmost tip of Albania, to the beachfront road in Durres, on the Mediterranean coast in the
west of Albania.
94. The KLA did not have outright, permanent control of any part of this territory during the relevant time,
but nor did any other agency or entity that might have been willing, or able, to enforce the law.
95. In particular, the lacuna in law enforcement was a reflection on the failure of the Albanian police and
intelligence  services  to  curb  the mafia-like banditry and  impunity of  certain KLA units  that had  stationed
themselves  in northern and central Albania around  the period of  the conflict.   The KLA’s senior  regional
commanders were, in their respective areas of control, a law unto themselves.
96. The locations of the detention facilities about which we received testimony directly from our sources –
corroborated by elements of proof gathered  through  the efforts of  investigative  journalists  (some of which
dates  back  ten  years  or  more),  and  more  recently  through  the  efforts  of  EULEX  investigators  and
prosecutors –  included: Cahan; Kukës; Bicaj  (vicinity); Burrel; Rripe  (a village southwest of Burrel  in Mat
District); Durres; and, perhaps most important of all, for the purposes of our specific mandate, Fushë-Krujë.
97. We were able to undertake visits to the sites of two such detention facilities in Albania in the course of
our inquiry, although we did not enter the facilities themselves.  Additionally, in respect of at least four other
such facilities that we know to have existed, we have heard first-hand testimony from multiple persons whom
we have confirmed as having visited one or more of the facilities in person, either at the time that they were
actively being used by the KLA, or on monitoring missions since.
98. The detention  facilities  in question were not  resorted  to  independently or as  self-standing entities.
Rather,  these detention  facilities did exist as elements of a well-established,  co-ordinated and  joined-up
network of unlawful activity, of which certain senior KLA commanders maintained control and oversight.  The
common denominator between all of  the  facilities was  that civilians were held captive  therein, on Albanian
territory, in the hands of members and affiliates of the KLA.
99. The  graphic map  included  in  this  report  depicts  the  locations  at  which  we  know  such  detention
facilities existed, along with the transport routes connecting them.
100. There were, nonetheless,  considerable differences  in  the periods and purposes  for which each of
these detention  facilities was used.   Indeed,  it  is evident  that each detention  facility had  its own distinct
“operational profile”, including with regard to: the manner of the relationships formed or deals made to enable
detentions and related operations to take place there at different times; the character and composition of the
groups of captives held there; the means by which the captives arrived there; and the fates awaiting those
captives during and at the end of their respective periods of detention.19 AS/Jur (2010) 46
101. We shall begin by describing some of the general characteristics of KLA detentions in wartime (some
of which  seem  to meet  the  threshold  for war  crimes),  and  post-conflict  detentions  carried  out  by  KLA
members and affiliates  (which appear  to constitute an organised criminal enterprise).   Thereafter we will
examine more closely what happened at each of the detention facilities on the territory of Albania.
3.3.1 KLA detentions in wartime First subset of captives: the “prisoners of war”
102. In  the period between April and  June 1999, KLA detentions on Albanian  territory were discernibly
based on the perceived strategic imperatives of fighting a guerrilla war.
103. During  the  time  of  war  and  the  attendant  mass  movements  of  refugees  into  Albania,  the  KLA
reportedly implemented a policy under which all persons suspected of having the merest knowledge about
the acts of Serb authorities, particularly those who were suspected of  having been “collaborators”, should be
subjected to “interrogation”.
104. We were told that this policy was supported actively on the territory of Albania by powerful elements
within  the Albanian national  intelligence apparatus,  including SHIK  (now SHISH) and military  intelligence,
some of whose members even participated  in asking questions of captives held at KLA detention camps.
However, the driving force behind the policy was Kadri VESELI (alias Luli), a lynchpin of the Drenica Group.
105. The detention facilities at which the “interrogations” purportedly took place – particularly those closer
to  the  border  with  Kosovo  –  doubled  as military  “bases”  or  “camps”  at  which  training  exercises  were
performed and from which frontline troops were dispatched, or re-supplied with arms and ammunition.  They
included disused or appropriated commercial properties  (including one hotel and one  factory)  in or on  the
outskirts  of  larger  provincial  towns, which  had  essentially  been  given  over  to  the  KLA  by  sympathetic
Albanians who supported the patriotic cause.
106. At  times  these wartime camps were used simultaneously as detention  facilities and other purposes,
such  as:  parking  vehicles  or  storing  caches  of military  hardware;  stockpiling  of  logistics  or  supplies  like
uniforms and  rifles; conducting  repairs on broken-down vehicles;  treating  injured comrades; or  for holding
meetings between different KLA commanders.
107. For the most part, however, the captives were purportedly kept separate from what might have been
considered  as  conventional  “wartime”  activities,  and  indeed  the  captives  were  largely  insulated  from
exposure to most KLA fighters or external observers who might have visited the KLA’s bases.
108. If all of the captives detained in KLA facilities on the territory of Albania were divided into subsets of
the  overall  group  according  to  the  fates  they met,  then  in  our  understanding  the  smallest  subset  of  all
comprises the “prisoners of war”: those who were held purely for the duration of the Kosovo conflict, many of
whom escaped or were released from Albania, returned home safely to Kosovo, and are alive today.
109. We are aware of  there being  “survivors”  in  this category, who have gone on  to bear witness  to  the
crimes  of  individual KLA  commanders, who were  held  in  facilities  at  one  or more  of  the  following  three
detention locations:
Cahan – KLA camp close to the Kosovo warfront, also used as a “jump station” from which to deploy
Kukes –  former metal  factory  converted  into a multi-purpose KLA  facility,  including at  least  two
“cellblocks” to house detainees; and
Durres – KLA  interrogation  site  at  the  back  of  the Hotel Drenica,  the KLA’s  headquarters  and
recruitment centre.
110. Based on source testimonies, along with material contained in indictments issued by the Office of the
Special Prosecutor  for  the Republic of Kosovo, we estimate  that a cumulative  total of at  least 40 persons,AS/Jur (2010) 46 20
each held  in one or more of  the  three above-named detention  locations, were detained by  the KLA
have survived to the present day.
111. This subset comprised mostly ethnic Albanian civilians – as well as some KLA recruits – suspected of
being  “collaborators” or  traitors, either on  the premise  that  they had spied  for  the Serbs, or because  they
were  thought  to have belonged  to, or supported,  the KLA’s political and military  rivals, especially  the LDK
and the emergent Armed Forces of the Republic of Kosovo (FARK)
112. Persons  in  this subset were  targeted primarily  for  interrogation, and several have described being
asked questions while being  treated  roughly by KLA and Albanian  intelligence officers.   However, during
further  periods  of  detention  that went  on  to  last  from  a  few  days  to more  than  a month, most  of  these
captives  were  ultimately  beaten  and mistreated  gratuitously  by  their  captors,  in  what  appeared  to  be
measures of punishment, intimidation and terror.
113. The KLA commanders accused of having been in charge of these detention locations included Sabit
GEQI,  Riza  ALIJA  (alias  “Commander  Hoxhaj”),  and  Xhemshit  KRASNIQI.   All  three  men  featured
prominently in previous UNMIK investigations into war crimes in northern Albania; all three have now been
named in SPRK indictments, and should soon stand trial in the Kosovo District Court
; and their properties
have been extensively searched.
114. The evidence gathered in the course of these processes seem to indicate that these KLA operatives –
along with  their Regional Commander  for Northern Albania,  the now deceased Xheladin GASHI – were
aligned with  the  “Drenica Group”, under  the direction of Hashim Thaqi, and were acting  in  concert with,
among others, Kadri Veseli. Case study on the nature of the facilities: Cahan
115. The camp  in Cahan was  the  furthest north of all  the  facilities  in Albania used by  the KLA, and was
accordingly most closely tied to activities at the warfront
We have found no indication that captives were  .
taken out of Cahan to other detention facilities in Albania, although we cannot rule it out.
116. It seems that the deeper into Albanian territory a facility’s physical location, the less directly it related
to  the  KLA’s  war  effort  and  the more  entrenched  its  connection  proved  to  be  with  the  underworld  of
organised crime.
117. We found it telling that persons who described having been held captive and mistreated at Cahan had
largely been apprehended  in an arbitrary and  relatively spontaneous  fashion, often  in  the course of KLA
patrols  in  the  vicinity  of  the  camp  itself,  or  at  checkpoints  on  the  border  crossing  between Kosovo  and
118. The persons in this first subset were apparently mostly released when warfront hostilities ceased and
the Serb security  forces had withdrawn  from  their positions  inside Kosovo,  in June 1999.   The survival of
these captives in significant numbers is demonstrated not least by the listing of more than a dozen named
persons with  the status of “injured parties  / witnesses”  in criminal proceedings against  the commanders of
the Cahan and Kukes sites.
The estimated 40 persons does not include persons who were held at Durres on a basis so fleeting that their detention lasted only as
long as it took KLA intelligence officers to conduct an interrogation.
The military grouping styled as Forcat e Armatosura të Republikës së Kosovës, or FARK (“Armed Forces of the Republic of Kosovo”),
was  nominally  fighting  for  the  same  cause  of  liberation  as  the KLA,  but was  treated  by KLA  commanders  as  an  adversary, with
contempt and suspicion.  FARK was politically aligned with the LDK, and envisaged as the defence arm of the Government-in-exile of
Bujar Bukoshi.  Unlike the KLA, FARK was built around a core of experienced military officers, ethnic Albanians who had served in the
Army of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. KLA commanders were highly suspicious of FARK and sought to suppress its recruitment
of new  fighters and supplies of arms and ammunitions.  The KLA detained numerous persons, especially civilians  in northern Albania
close to the Kosovo border, on the accusation that they supported FARK and were therefore disloyal to the KLA cause.
Geqi and Alija were arrested,  in May 2010 and June 2010  respectively, and have been  indicted  for war crimes against  the civilian
population.  While there is also substantial evidence against the third suspect in this regard, Krasniqi, he remains a fugitive at the time of
writing and therefore cannot be subject to charges under Kosovo criminal procedure.  Pending Krasniqi’s apprehension, and the efficient
administration of justice, the trial of all three men should take place either in the District Court of Pristina or the District Court of Mitrovica
in early 2011.
Our KLA sources  told us  that Cahan was  in  fact an operational staging point  for KLA advances over  the mountainous border  into
Kosovo.  KLA fighters stationed at Cahan are renowned for having launched “Operation Aero”, a rare incursion into Serb-held territory in
late May 1999.21 AS/Jur (2010) 46 Case study on the nature of the facilities: Kukës
119. Among the specific sites at which civilian captives were secretly detained in the custody of  the KLA,
we obtained extensive details about a KLA base at a disused factory building on the outskirts of the northern
Albanian town of Kukes.
120. Two  first-hand witnesses explained  to us how prisoners had been brought  to  the Kukes site, where
they were  thrown  into makeshift cellblocks,  left  in  insanitary conditions without  food and water, and were
visited periodically by KLA soldiers to be questioned under harsh treatment, or indiscriminately beaten.
121. The extent of the ill-treatment suffered by prisoners at this facility has been meticulously documented,
inter alia, by Kosovar and international personnel working in the Office of the Special Prosecutor of Kosovo.
In statements given to prosecutors in 2009 and 2010, more than ten individuals – almost all of them ethnic
Albanians – described having been detained  indefinitely, struck brutally with sticks and other objects, and
subjected to various forms of inhuman treatment at the Kukes site.  Several witnesses stated that screams of
agony from persons held in separate sets of cellblocks could be heard filtering through the corridors.
122. The Government of Albania has stated  that  there are no bodies of deceased persons related  to  the
Kosovo conflict buried  in  the  territory of Albania, and  indeed  that  there never were.   The case of Kukes
proves that this claim is manifestly untrue.
123. First,  there are bodies  that were cast  into rivers  in Kosovo and have been carried downstream over
the border into Albania.  The exhumation of such bodies and the recovery of their remains by representatives
of  the OMPF  in Kosovo would be  relatively  “uncontroversial” – but even  intervention on  these cases has
been strongly resisted by the Albanian authorities.
124. Second,  there  are  known  individual  cases  in which  the  bodies  of murdered Kosovars  have  been
identified as having been  interred  in Albania.   These cases have  led –  in  instances documented by both
Albanian and  international  journalists, and made known  to us –  to prolonged, albeit discreet, negotiations
between  the  families of  these Kosovars and  the authorities administering  the cemetery site(s)  in Albania.
Ultimately, and of particular note, in one case explained  to us in detail by a first-hand source, bodies have
been exhumed and repatriated to Kosovo for a proper burial by the families.  The Albanian authorities told us
that they knew of no such cases.
125. Third,  there are allegations of  the existence of mass grave sites on  the  territory of  the Republic of
Albania. The Serbian War Crimes Prosecutors’ Office stated to us that they have in their possession satellite
photographs of the areas in which these mass graves are located – but up to now, the sites themselves have
not yet been  found, despite a  formal  request made by  the Serbian  to  the Albanian authorities  to carry out
126. We obtained records from the local cemetery in Kukes, which seem to carry a significant confirmation:
bodies of persons from Kosovo had indeed been buried in Northern Albania.  The most important document
was a  five-page  “List of deceased  immigrants  from Kosovo, 28 March 1999 – 17 June 1999”, which was
prepared by the Supervisor of Public Services in the Municipality of Kukes, northern Albania.
127. The document has subsequently been admitted as evidence in the District Court of Mitrovica, Kosovo,
upon submission of  the Special Prosecutors’ office of Kosovo.  One of  the deceased persons on  the  list –
Anton Bisaku, featured at No. 138 – was found to have been among the known victims of secret detention
and inhuman treatment at the KLA facility located in Kukes, Albania.
128. According to an indictment issued in August 2010, Bisaku and an unspecified number of other civilians
held  in  detention  in Kukes were  “repeatedly  beaten  and  struck with  sticks  and  batons,  kicked,  verbally
abused and tortured”.   In charging the defendant Sabit Geci with “War Crimes Against Civilian Population”,
including “the killing of a civilian at Kukes, one Anton Bisaku who was beaten and shot”, the EULEX Special
Prosecutor stated that Bisaku was “killed as a result of gunfire directed at him during a session of inhuman
treatment, beating and torture which occurred on or about 4 June 1999”.AS/Jur (2010) 46 22
3.3.2. Post-conflict detentions carried out by KLA members and affiliates
129. After 12 June 1999, Kosovar Albanians continued to detain persons for a variety of motives, including
revenge,  punishment  and  profit.   The  perpetrators  –  all  of whom were,  according  to  our  sources, KLA
members and affiliates – thereafter fashioned their own novel means of apprehending and abusing civilians,
and  transporting  them out of Kosovo  to new detention  facilities  in Albania, distinct  from  those  that been
operated by the KLA in wartime.
130. In  the months  directly  after  the  declared  end  of  the Kosovo  conflict  in  June  1999, members  and
affiliates of  the KLA purportedly delivered scores of persons  they had abducted  into secret detention on
Albanian territory.
131. It is of grave concern to us, and should be a priority for investigation and resolution on the part of the
Albanian authorities,  that  the vast majority of  the persons whom we  found  to have been so  treated remain
unaccounted for to the present day, including numerous ethnic Albanians.
132. According to our information, there was not just one facility in Albania at which this post-conflict form of
secret detention  took place –  there was a whole ad hoc network of such  facilities,  joined up by  frequent
journeys between them on Albania’s provincial roads, and across the porous, chaotic (especially at the time
of the mass refugee movements in mid-1999) border between Kosovo and Albania.
133. We were able  to access corroborated,  first-hand  testimony  from  former KLA  fighters and auxiliaries
who carried out multiple transports into and between the facilities named in our report, as well as transports
of captives out of most of them.
134. On  these  journeys, KLA recruits and affiliates reportedly drove unmarked private vehicles,  including
trucks and vans, sometimes in convoys, between one facility and the next.  They transported KLA personnel
and logistics, provisions of food, alcohol or cigarettes, and groups of women who would be exploited for sex.
Most significantly, in the months from July 1999 until as late as August 2000, they also transported captives.
135. The facilities in which captives were detained in the post-conflict period differed in character from the
wartime facilities: we have found that they were primarily rustic private residences in rural or suburban areas,
including traditional Albanian farmhouses and their storage barns.
136. There was,  in addition, at  least one  custom-built element  to  the post-conflict network of detention
facilities, which was unique in appearance and purpose.  It constituted a state-of-the-art reception centre for
the organised crime of organ trafficking.   It was styled as a makeshift operating clinic, and it was the site at
which some of the captives held by KLA members and affiliates had their kidneys removed against their will.
According to our sources, the ringleaders of this criminal enterprise then shipped the human organs out of
Albania  and  sold  them  to  private  overseas  clinics  as  part  of  the  international  “black market”  of  organtrafficking for transplantation.  Second subset of captives: the “disappeared”
137. The captives in this subset were victims of enforced disappearance: none has been seen, heard of or
accounted for, since being abducted from Kosovo, in the weeks and months directly after 12 June 1999.
138. The orchestrators of  this post-conflict criminal enterprise had apparently put  in place a process of
filtering,  whereby  a  smaller  number  of  captives  was  picked  out  selectively  from  each  larger  group  of
disappeared,  and moved  on  to  somewhere  else.   The  evidence  suggests  that  the  rationale  behind  the
process of  filtering captives  in  this manner was  linked  to a determination of  the suitability of  the chosen
captives for the use that awaited them.
139. Factors  thought  to have played  into  the  filtering process, as  recounted  to us by multiple  sources,
included age, sex, health condition, and indeed the ethnic origin of the captives, ethnic Serbs having been
targeted primarily.
140. We heard numerous  references  to captives not merely having been handed over, but also having
been “bought” and “sold”.  It was as a result of these references that we tried to understand more clearly the
intersection between the abductions and undeclared detentions in the context the conflict, and the activities
of organised crime, which was prevalent in many sectors of daily life in the region.23 AS/Jur (2010) 46  Case study on the nature of the facilities: Rripe
141. In the course of our inquiry, we established that at least three sources whose testimonies we obtained
unquestionably were physically present at  the house of  the  K.  family  in Rripe near Burrel (the much-cited
“yellow house”) in the context of KLA criminal enterprises during which they were present.
142. Each of these sources was able to recount unique and specific details regarding the precise location
and appearance of  the house,  the background of  its proprietor,  the KLA personnel posted  there, and  the
character and commandership of the illegal activities that took place in the house in the period from 1999 to
143. Based upon  these source  testimonies,  it can be concluded  that the K. house was occupied by, and
under the control of the KLA who were part of a network that operated throughout most of the northern half
of Albania.
144. A  small  group  of KLA  commanders  reportedly  ordered  and  oversaw multiple  deliveries  of  civilian
captives to the K. house over a period of up to a year, from July 1999 until mid-2000. Most of these captives
had  been  abducted  from  the  provincial  areas  of  southern  Kosovo  and  brought  into  Albania  using  the
methods of transportation described in this report.  Unlike those held in Kukes, the captives brought to Rripe
were predominantly ethnic Serbs.
145. In addition, sources close  to  the KLA spoke of a  large number of  trafficked women and girls being
brought to the K. house, where they were exploited for sex not only by the KLA personnel, but also by some
of the menfolk in the Rripe community.
146. During the period in which the KLA maintained a presence at the house, the silence of the inhabitants
of Rripe as  to  the presence of KLA units and  their activities was, according  to our sources, obtained by
threats, but also by “pay-offs” including significant sums of money, as well as free access to alcohol, drugs
and prostitutes.
147. There are substantial elements of proof  that a small number of KLA captives,  including some of  the
abducted ethnic Serbs, met their death in Rripe, at or in the vicinity of the K. house.  We have learned about
these deaths not only  through  the  testimonies of  former KLA  soldiers who  said  they had participated  in
detaining and  transporting  the captives while  they were alive, but also  through  the  testimonies of persons
who independently witnessed the burial, disinterment, movement and reburial of the captives’ corpses, both
while the KLA was occupying the K. house, and in the period after the KLA had vacated the K. house and
the family inhabitants had returned.
148. Our findings in relation to the K. house appear to corroborate, to a large extent, the findings made by a
team of investigative journalists working for the US-based documentary producers “American Radio Works”.
These findings were summed up in a confidential internal memo submitted to UNMIK in 2003, which in turn
gave rise to the investigative mission to the K. house referred to before.
149. Yet, the testimonies we gathered also revealed a dimension to the KLA's operations at the K. house
that had not previously been  reported, either by  the ARW  team, or  in  the memoirs of  former  ICTY Chief
Prosecutor Carla del Ponte, or in the successive “revelations” in the media.
150. KLA operatives in fact not only dropped off captives at Rripe, but apparently also picked up captives
from Rripe, for transportation onwards to different detention facilities.   According to the testimonies of drivers
involved in transporting the captives, some of the persons they picked up at Rripe were the same persons
they had brought from Kosovo, while others had arrived at Rripe from a different and unknown provenance,
which the drivers never found out.
151. The K. house was  therefore not  the endpoint, or ultimate destination,  in  this  joined-up network of
detention  facilities  and  captive  transports.  Its  precise  role,  its  importance  to  the  whole  operation,  was
perhaps previously misconstrued.
152. The K. house appears in fact to have had the character of more of a “way station”, at which captives
were held in transit to their ultimate fate, and according to certain sources, subjected to apparently strange
forms of “processing” / “filtering”, including the testing of their blood and physical condition.AS/Jur (2010) 46 24 on the conditions of detention and transport
153. Captives  were  reportedly  held  incommunicado  under  constant  armed  guard  at  these  detention
facilities, either  in  rooms  that were part of  the main buildings, or  in barns, garages, warehouses or other
adjoining structures designed for storage.
154. During the transports between these buildings, captives were routinely bundled into vans and trucks,
restrained by binding their hands behind their backs, and tied to internal fixtures of the vehicle.
155. The  drivers  of  these  vans  and  trucks  –  several  of whom would  become  crucial witnesses  to  the
patterns of abuse described – saw and heard captives suffering greatly during the transports, notably due to
the lack of a proper air supply in their compartment of the vehicle, or due to the psychological torment of the
fate that they supposed awaited them.  Third subset of captives: the “victims of organised crime”
156. The last and most conspicuous subset of captives in the post-conflict period, not least because its fate
has been greatly sensationalized and widely misunderstood, comprises  the captives we  regard as having
been  the  “victims of organised crime”.  Among  this subset are a handful of persons whom we  found were
taken  into central Albania  to be murdered  immediately before having  their kidneys removed  in a makeshift
operating clinic.
157. The captives in this subset undoubtedly endured a most horrifying ordeal in the custody of their KLA
captors.  According to source testimonies, the captives “filtered” into this final subset were initially kept alive,
fed well and allowed  to sleep, and  treated with relative restraint by KLA guards and henchmen who would
otherwise have beaten them up indiscriminately.
158. The captives were, as we were told, each moved through at least two transitory detention facilities, or
“way stations”, before being delivered to the operating clinic.  These “way stations”, apparently controlled by
KLA  operatives  and  affiliates  aligned  to  the  “Drenica  Group”,  were  situated  inter  alia in  the  following
detention locations:
Bicaj  (vicinity) – an apparently privately-owned house  in a small village south of Bicaj,  in a  rural
setting not far removed from the main road towards Peshkopi;
Burrel –  on  the  outskirts  of  the  town  of  Burrel,  a  compound  containing  at  least  two  individual
structures in which captives were locked up, as well as a house in which operatives congregated and
Rripe – the two-storey, self-standing farmhouse referred to as the K. house, or the “Yellow House”,
which was subject  to a combined UNMIK  /  ICTY  forensic site visit  in 2004 after being  identified by
investigative journalists; and
Fushë-Krujë – another detached, two-storey farmhouse removed from the main roads and enclosed
within a large compound, which reportedly served as a “safe house” not only for KLA affiliates, but
for other groups of organised criminals involved in smuggling drugs and trafficking in human beings. Case study on the nature of the facilities: Fushë-Krujë
159. It was  in  the  last of  the  locations discovered  in our  investigations, Fushë-Krujë,  that  the process of
“filtering” purportedly reached  its end-point, and  the small, select group of KLA captives who were brought
this far met their death.
160. There are strong indications, from source testimonies we have obtained, that in the process of being
moved  through  the  transitory sites, at  least some of  these captives became aware of  the ultimate  fate  that
awaited them. In detention facilities where they were held in earshot of other trafficked persons, and in the
course of being transported, some of these captives are said to have pleaded with their captors to be spared
the fate of being “chopped into pieces”
In the interests of balance, I should point out that some reporting of this fear on the part of the captives has tended to dramatise the
facts unduly.  For example, we have found no basis for the allegation that certain victims had one kidney removed before being “sewn
up” again, detained for another period, and then finally having the second kidney removed.25 AS/Jur (2010) 46
161. At the latest when their blood was drawn by syringe for testing (a step that appears to have been akin
to “tissue typing”, or determining levels of organ transplantation compatibility), or when they were physically
examined by men referred to as “doctors”, the captives must have been put on notice that they were being
treated as some form of medical commodities.  Sources described such tests and examinations having been
undertaken in both Rripe and Fushë-Krujë.
162. The testimonies on which we based our findings spoke credibly and consistently of a methodology by
which all of the captives were killed, usually by a gunshot to the head, before being operated on to remove
one or more of  their organs.   We  learned  that  this was principally a  trade  in  “cadaver  kidneys”,  i.e.  the
kidneys were extracted posthumously; it was not a set of advanced surgical procedures requiring controlled
clinical conditions and, for example, the extensive use of anaesthetic.
163. We  learned  from  distinct  and  independent  KLA  insider  sources  about  diverse  elements  and
perspectives  of  the  organ-trafficking  ring  in  action:  on  the  one  hand,  from  the  perspective  of  drivers,
bodyguards and other  “fixers” who performed  logistical and practical  tasks aimed at delivering  the human
bodies to the operating clinic; and on the other hand, from the perspective of the “organisers”, the criminal
ringleaders who, as alleged, entered business deals to provide human organs for transplantation purposes in
return for handsome financial rewards.
164. The practical dimension of the trafficking enterprise was relatively simple.  Captives brought as far as
the Fushë-Krujë area (which entailed an arduous drive of several hours onwards from Rripe or Burrel) were
first held  in  the “safe house”  facility.  The proprietor of  this property was an ethnic Albanian who allegedly
shared both clan ties and organised criminal connections with members of the “Drenica Group”.
165. As and when  the  transplant  surgeons were  confirmed  to be  in position and  ready  to operate,  the
captives were brought out of the “safe house” individually, summarily executed by a KLA gunman, and their
corpses transported swiftly to the operating clinic.
166. The surgical procedures thereupon performed – cadaver kidney extractions, rather than surgeries on
live  donors  –  are  the most  common means  through  which  donor  organs  and  tissues  are  acquired  for
transplant  purposes  –  except  for  the  criminal  method  of  obtaining  the  cadavers.  Eminent  organ
transplantation experts whom we have consulted during our  inquiry described  these procedures  to us as
efficient and low-risk.
167. Sources stated that the Fushë-Krujë axis was chosen to host these facilities because of its proximity to
the main airport servicing Tirana.  The facilities at the hub of this organ-trafficking ring – the “safe house” and
the  operating  clinic  –  therefore  offered  accessibility  for  incoming  international  visitors  and  outgoing
shipments alike.
4. Medicus clinic
168. In the course of our inquiry we have uncovered certain items of information that go some way beyond
our findings as presently reported.  This information appears to depict a broader, more complex organised
criminal conspiracy  to source human organs  for  illicit  transplant,  involving co-conspirators  in at  least  three
different  foreign countries besides Kosovo, enduring over more  than a decade.   In particular, we  found a
number  of  credible,  convergent  indications  that  the  organ-trafficking  component  of  the  post-conflict
detentions described in our report is closely related to the contemporary case of the Medicus Clinic, not least
through prominent Kosovar Albanian and international personalities who feature as co-conspirators in both.
However, out of  respect  for  the ongoing  investigations and  judicial proceedings being  led by EULEX  /  the
Office of  the Special Prosecutor of Kosovo, we  feel obliged at  this moment  to  refrain  from publishing our
findings  in  this  regard.   Suffice  to  say, we  encourage  all  the  countries whose  nationals  appear  in  the
indictment  regarding Medicus  to  do  their  utmost  to  halt  this  shameful  activity  and  assist  in  bringing  its
orchestrators and co-conspirators to justice.
The proprietor’s collusion with networks who  trafficked sex workers,  illegal  immigrants  to Europe, and contraband  items  including
drugs and weapons eventually  led him  to be arrested by Albanian  law enforcement officials; although  there does not appear  to have
been any connection with crimes carried out in the KLA network.
Contrary  to  the  widespread  scepticism  as  to  whether  the  underlying  operations  involved  in  organ-trafficking  could  have  been
performed  in Albania  in  the period 1999-2000, our experts whom we consulted directly not only  found  it perfectly plausible  that  this
methodology had been used, but were aware of analogous, similarly illicit enterprises in which cadaver extractions were found to have
been performed.AS/Jur (2010) 46 26
5. Reflections on the “glass ceiling of accountability” in Kosovo
169. Our  inquiry  has  found  that  there  exists  a  “glass  ceiling  of  accountability”  with  regard  to  the
investigations currently being undertaken, and  the  indictments  thus  far  issued, under  the auspices of  the
Special Prosecutors’ Office in Kosovo.
170. There seem to be two principal impediments to the quest for justice on behalf of the Kosovo people,
as it is being led by the SPRK.  The first problem is that the de  facto reach of the investigations is carefully
managed and restricted by  the Kosovo authorities
their collaboration with EULEX  therefore suffers  from a
profound lack of confidence.
171. Second,  these men would apparently rather accept  justice  in  the courts  for  their alleged roles  in  the
running of illicit detention camps and the trafficking of human organs, respectively, than implicate their former
senior KLA commanders, upon whose authority they acted and who are now senior political figures.
172. The  central  impediment  to  achieving  true  justice  for many Kosovars,  therefore,  seems  to  be  the
ancestral custom, which still prevails in some parts of society, of entrenched clan loyalty, or its equivalent in
the sphere of organised crime.  Even where the conspirators in question are not themselves members of the
same  clans  or  extended  families,  the  allegiances  they  feel  towards  their  criminal  “bosses”  are  as
unbreakable as any family bonds.
173. Therefore, Sabit Geqi will resolutely avoid implicating those truly responsible for the torture of civilian
prisoners at Kukes, who have now become respectable public  figures.  Equally,  Ilir Rrecaj will continue  to
accept the consequences of being a scapegoat for the irregular licensing and funding practices in respect of
the Medicus clinic in Pristina, rather than point the finger at those who are truly responsible for this organised
criminal activity in Kosovo’s health sector.
174. The result is that political leaders can plausibly dismiss the allegations relating to KLA involvement in
detention,  torture and murder  in Albania – serious allegations  that deserve  to be  investigated, as we have
seen, much more seriously  than has been  the case so  far,  - as  little more  than a  “spectacle” created by
Serbian political propagandists.
6. Some concluding remarks
175. In concluding, we should once again recall that that this report has been drawn up in the wake of the
revelations  that appeared  in  the memoirs of  the  former Chief Prosecutor of  the  ICTY.. Shocked by  those
disclosures,  the  Parliamentary  Assembly  entrusted  us  with  the  task  of  looking  more  closely  into  the
allegations and  the human rights violations said  to have been committed  in Kosovo  in  the material period.
The elements reported in the former Prosecutor's book primarily concerned the alleged trafficking of human
organs. Our difficult, sensitive investigations enabled us not only to substantiate those elements, but also to
shed light on further, related allegations and to draw a very sombre, worrying picture of what took place, and
is to some extent continuing to take place, in Kosovo. Our task was not to conduct an criminal investigation -
we are not empowered  to do so, and above all we  lack  the necessary  resources  -  let alone  to pronounce
judgments of guilt or innocence.
176. The information we have gathered nonetheless concerns extremely grave events that took place in the
very heart of Europe. The Council of Europe and  its member  states  cannot  remain  indifferent  to  such a
situation. We have shown that organised crime is a significant phenomenon in Kosovo. This is nothing new,
and  it  is admittedly not exclusive  to Kosovo. Organised crime  is a dreadful problem  in  the region and also
affects Serbia, Montenegro and Albania,  to name but a  few examples. There are also worrying, surprising
links  and  affinities  between  the  different  groups  involved.  Moreover,  such  criminal  groups  seem  to
One example  in  the  realm of  information management  is  the  limited access granted  to EULEX police  investigators  to  the criminal
databases operated by their Kosovo counterparts.  The local leadership grudgingly granted EULEX officers access to the Kosovo Police
Information System (KPIS), but only via a handful of user names and passwords, each one of which had to be attached to the login of a
known and named EULEX official.   The searches conducted by each of  these usernames could  then be directly surveilled by  the KP
liaisons, who would necessarily know how often, and when, EULEX searches had been performed and also, precisely whom EULEX
had been checking up on.  Even against this background, there are just as many occasions on which simple technology foils a modernday police investigator, because KPIS regularly breaks down.  The equivalent system for motor vehicle registration, the KVIS, was also
opened  to EULEX  investigators after a period of barely co-operative negotiation with  the Kosovo Police.  However,  the version of  the
database made available  (unlike  the original prototype  that had been  jointly developed under UNMIK) was exclusively  in Albanian
language.  MMA (Monitoring, Mentoring & Advising) doesn’t count for much when the Kosovar partners do exactly what they want – the
only remedial action the international liaisons can take is to write a report that goes up the chain of responsibility, and probably lands on
a desk somewhere in Brussels and is treated with minimal urgency and a premium on political correctness.27 AS/Jur (2010) 46
co-operate  with  each  other  far more  effectively  than  the  responsible  national  and  international  judicial
authorities. We have highlighted and documented the shady, and in some cases open, connections between
organised crime and politics, including representatives of the authorities; that too is nothing new, at least for
those who have not sought to close their eyes and ears at all costs. The silence and the failure to react in the
face  of  such  a  scandal  is  just  as  serious  and  unacceptable. We  have  not  engaged  in mere  rumourmongering, but have rather described events on the basis of multiple testimonies, documents and objective
evidence. What we have uncovered  is of course not completely unheard-of. The same or similar  findings
have  long been detailed and condemned  in reports by key  intelligence and police agencies, albeit without
having been followed up properly, because the authors' respective political masters have preferred to keep a
low profile and say nothing, purportedly for reasons of "political expediency". But we must ask what interests
could possibly  justify  such an attitude of disdain  for all  the  values  that are  invariably  invoked  in public?
Everyone in Kosovo is aware of what happened and of the current situation, but people do not talk about it,
except  in private;  they have  for years been waiting  for  the  truth  -  the whole  truth,  rather  than  the official
version - to be laid bare. Our sole aim today is to serve as spokespersons for those men and women from
Kosovo, as well as those from Serbia and Albania, who, regardless of their ethnic or religious backgrounds,
simply aspire to the truth and to an end to scandalous impunity, with no greater wish than to be able to live in
peace. Truth and accountability are absolute necessities if there is to be genuine reconciliation and lasting
stability  in  the  region.  In  the course of our mission we met with persons of great valour – both  local and
international actors – who are fighting to overcome indifference and build a fairer society. They deserve not
only our expressions of solidarity, but also our full and active support

Inga kommentarer:

Skicka en kommentar