The Guardian newspaper has reported that a new Council of Europe inquiry names Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci as the head of "mafia-like" group that smuggled arms, weapons, and human organs through eastern Europe.
The report, the result of a two year investigation, has been obtained by The Guardian ahead of its release. According to the daily, Thaci, a former political leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, is cited as "the boss" of the network, which operated both in the run up to the conflict in Kosovo in 1999 and in the years following.
The inquiry finds that, while Serb forces committed horrific crimes during the conflict in Kosovo, suspected war crimes committed by members of the Kosovo Liberation Army were ignored because the international community placed "a premium instead on achieving some degree of short-term stability".
Citing FBI and other intelligence sources, the report points to Thaci's control over the heroin trade and says that the network smuggled individuals into Albania, including Serbs, and killed some of them to harvest their organs.
The Guardian has linked the report with a hearing today in the case of seven men suspected of participating in an international human trafficking ring that brought poverty-stricken individuals to Kosovo to harvest their kidneys and sell them to Westerners.
The newspaper writes that the inquiry found that the case being heard today is linked to alleged organ trafficking carried out by the Kosovo Liberation Army in 2000.
The report, drafted by human rights investigator Dick Marty, was launched after former UN war crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte alleged in her book 'Madame Prosecutor' that Serbs were captured and killed during the conflict in Kosovo, and their organs harvested.
Marty concludes that "the signs of collusion between the criminal class and the highest political and institutional office holders are too numerous and too serious to be ignored" and says that the Kosovo people have the right to know the truth.
The author of the report, Dick Marty, will present his work at the Council of Europe on Thursday.