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Friday, April 8, 2016

Alleged Ex-criminal Thaci Inaugurated as New President of Kosovo.

Alleged Ex-criminal Thaci Inaugurated as New President of Kosovo. (SP).

Former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) militant Hashim Thaci was treated to a lavish inauguration ceremony on Friday, the ceremony attended by over a thousand guests from 50 countries, including diplomats from states which recognize Kosovo, which broke off from Serbia in 2008. Sputnik offers a brief analysis of the alleged ex-bandit turned president.

Thaci, who has a long record of service in Kosovar politics, previously served as the head of the breakaway republic's foreign ministry, as deputy prime minister and, between 2008 and 2014, as premier. He began his political rise in the early 1990s when, carrying the moniker 'The Snake', he became a member of the KLA leadership's inner circle, responsible for securing funds and arms, and for training militants in neighboring Albania to be sent to Kosovo.

In her 2008 book entitled The Hunt: Me and the War Criminals, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) prosecutor Carla Del Ponte alleged that Thaci was directly involved in the KLA's illegal organ trade; the KLA was accused of harvesting the organs of mostly Serbian prisoners of war at secret detention centers in Albania.

In 1999, the prosecutor wrote, about 300 Serbs and other non-Albanians were kidnapped and taken to northern Albania, where their organs were removed, and sent, for profit, to hospitals across Europe.

In late 2010, Swiss politician Dick Marty presented an expansive report on the issue to the Council of Europe, saying there were "credible, convergent indications" indicating that the illegal organ harvesting was indeed taking place, and that Thaci was the head of the "mafia-like" group responsible for the organ harvesting, as well as drug and weapons smuggling to countries across Europe.

Thaci denied the allegations and said that he would file a lawsuit against Marty, but never did.

With The Hague vowing to establish a special court to try war crimes committed during the war in Kosovo, it remains unclear whether Thaci, one of the founders of the Kosovo Liberation Army, which has itself been accused of war crimes, will appear before the court.

Sputnik Serbian spoke to Zivojin Rakocevic, a political analyst and writer from Kosovo's Serbian enclave of Gracanica, to get a sense of the real implications of his confirmation as president.

Unfortunately, Rakocevic noted, Thaci's main 'accomplishment' during his years in Kosovar politics has been to expel the Serbs from cities across the region, including the capital of Pristina, where only a few dozen mostly elderly Serbs from the estimated 40,000 who once lived there now remain.

"At the same time, he managed to destroy Kosovar Albanians' future. Today, 80% of them want to leave Kosovo, which NATO bombed with shells containing depleted uranium, and Thaci finished off with his criminal structures," Rakocevic said.

"He has destroyed any possibility for Serbs to return to this region, and dealt a blow to the Serbian Orthodox Church. He has control over the Islamic radicals, and can use them at any time."

"But his greatest achievement," Rakocevic scornfully recalled, was that after all his crimes, many of them documented by Western political, legal and intelligence officials, "Thaci remains a legitimate, important 'friend of the international community' and of Western powers." Hmmm......And close buddy of Erdogan.  Read the full story here.

Related: Turkey’s Islamist Agenda in Kosovo

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