Kosovo: EU police & justice mission must investigate post-conflict abductions

Amnesty International

Amnesty International Press Release

Kosovo: EU police & justice mission must investigate post-conflict abductions

(Brussels, 15 December 2010) Amnesty International has called on the European Union-led police and justice mission in Kosovo (EULEX) to open an immediate investigation into the alleged involvement of Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi in the post-war abduction of Albanians and Serbs.

The allegations appear in a draft report by Senator Dick Marty, a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which is due to be discussed by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights on Thursday, 16 December. The report finds that, after the international armed conflict in Kosovo ended in July 1999, Kosovo Serbs and Albanians whom the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) suspected of ’collaboration’ with the Serb authorities were abducted and moved to camps in Albania, in one of which they were murdered and their organs removed for trafficking.

The report’s findings also point to the involvement of Hashim Thaçi and other members of the KLA, based in Kosovo’s Drenica area, in the abduction, torture, ill-treatment and murder of other Serb and Albanian civilians in prison camps in Albania. These camps include the ’Yellow House‘, the subject of inconclusive investigations by the Chief Prosecutor at the Special War Crimes Chamber at Belgrade District Court, and by EULEX investigators.

Amnesty International endorses Dick Marty’s call for the EU to give EULEX all the resources it needs to carry out a full and impartial investigation into these allegations, and all other post-conflict abductions. This includes the resources to set up an effective witness protection programme”, said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. “The families of the Serbs, Roma and Albanians abducted after the war have waited too long for justice. They deserve to know their relatives’ fate.”

For the past ten years Amnesty International has called for investigations into the fate of Serbs, Roma and others abducted after the end of the armed conflict, and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice. However, the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo failed to carry out any effective investigations. Following the arrival of EULEX, tasked with investigating war crimes and serious inter-ethnic crimes in December 2008, the bulk of such abduction cases were passed from EULEX to the local Kosovo Special Prosecutor’s Office.

The Marty report also alleges Hashim Thaçi’s involvement in trafficking drugs, arms and women for forced prostitution at a camp in Albania. Another issue is the culture of impunity, and the absence of meaningful witness protection, which has prevented investigation of these allegations. The draft report also remarks that the international community, charged under UN Security Council Resolution 1244/1999 with ensuring the human rights of all people in Kosovo, “sacrifice[d] some important principles of justice” and chose not to investigate post-war abductions, political killings and other allegations against Hashim Thaçi and the KLA in order to promote short-term stability”.

Notes to editors

The draft report Inhuman treatment of people and illicit trafficking in human organs in Kosovo
is available here

For Amnesty International’s report on this issue, see Burying the Past: Serbia: Burying the Past: Impunity for enforced disappearances and abductions in Kosovo, (June 2009)

For further information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Peter Clarke, Amnesty International European Institutions Office at:
tel: +32 (0)2 548 2773; e-mail:[email protected]

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