PRISTINA, Kosovo -- Kosovo media widely covered the intention of the European Union (EU) to investigate accusations of the Dick Marty Report. The Council of Europe Rapporteur, Senator Dick Marty, in his report from December 2010 claims that members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in the time from 1998 to 2000 were involved in organ trading and organized crime. Whereas a special focus is given on the so called Drenica Group of the former KLA commander, current Kosovo Prime Minister and Head of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) Hashim Thaci.
In this context the accusations refer also to the PDK parliament member (MP) Azem Syla, the former Transport Minister PDK MP Fatmir Limaj, the Vice-President of the Kosovo parliament PDK MP Xhavit Haliti, the Head of the former KLA secret service (SHIK) Kadri Veseli - as well as the PDK MP Dr. Shaip Muja, the former chief medical coordinator of the KLA during the war time.
EU spokesperson Kocijancic confirmed the EU decision "to create a Task Force, in order to investigate the accusations which come from the report of Dick Marty". Reportedly the investigation will be carried out formally under the supervision of the EU Rule of Law mission in Kosovo (EULEX). Despite this the task force is said to be working independently. As to EULEX spokesperson Nicholas Hawton, due to the international dimension of according investigations "this task force, composed of prosecutors and investigators, ... will be partly based in Brussels."
The de-facto separation of the investigation task force from EULEX structures raised doubts at several Kosovar and international media regarding both a possible mistrust of EU concerning its own mission in Kosovo - as well as the influence of Serbia on the EU decision.
Meanwhile the Kosovo Minister for European Integration, Vlora Çitaku welcomed the decision of the EU, but still believes in the innocence of the accused persons: "We know that (Marty's report) is just a product with clear political tendencies. However we want justice to be done, to remove this report once and forever from the agenda".
Contrasting that, the Marty Report itself shows a more balanced approach: "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. ... In the Kosovo conflict, the ethnic Albanian population suffered horrendous violence as the result of an insane ethnic cleansing policy ... . None of these historical events could be cast in doubt today. However, ... 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, ... "
Concretely the Marty Report refers to "... 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 ... Thaqi's Drenica Group built a formidable power base in the organized criminal enterprises that were flourishing in Kosovo and Albania at the time."
As to Dick Marty the members of the Drenica Group managed "to exploit their position in order to accrue personal wealth totally out of proportion with their declared activities."
The group is said to have committed crimes respectively to have been involved in crimes concerning the trading of "heroin and other narcotics", smuggling of alcohol and cigarettes, as well as"... assassinations, detentions, beatings and interrogations in various parts of Kosovo", human trafficking and sexual abuse and further inhuman treatment and torture in KLA detention camps in Albania, and finally the capture and killing of persons in order to sell their organs "to private overseas clinics as part of the international "black market" of organ trafficking for transplantation".
In a press release the organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) expressed hope that "this EU special investigation brings us closer to justice for serious crimes committed after the Kosovo war". Nevertheless HRW reminds the need for "an experienced senior prosecutor with clout ... to build an effective team, guarantee witness security, and garner support from key governments, including the United States."