PACE winter session expected to be emotional

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The winter session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe that is opening in Strasbourg on Monday will focus on the situation in Belarus after the presidential election, a report on trafficking in human organs in Kosovo and the implementation of decisions by the European Human Rights Court.

The winter session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe that is opening in Strasbourg on Monday will focus on the situation in Belarus after the presidential election, a report on trafficking in human organs in Kosovo and the implementation of decisions by the European Human Rights Court.  According to the head of the Russian delegation Konstantin Kosachev, it will be emotional and scandalous.

Observers say that the report by Swiss prosecutor Dick Marty, the head of the PACE commission on judicial issues, on the illicit trafficking in human organs in Kosovo will be the key topic on the agenda. Preparations for the report were launched in 2008 after the publication of “The Hunt: Me and war criminals” by the former prosecutor of the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Carla del Ponte. In her book, Carla del Ponte says that about 300 Kosovo Serbs were abducted in 1999, to be transported to Albania for the illicit trafficking of organs.

The Russian delegation at PACE initiated the preparation of the report. In his report Dick Marty says that incumbent Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci was involved in committing the crimes. Thaci headed a Kosovo Liberation Army unit during the conflict between the Serbs and the Albanians in the late 90s. This organization was engaged in carrying out contract killings, abducting people and trafficking human organs. When NATO launched its attacks on Yugoslavia, KLA militants were its key allies. "Consequently, NATO countries expect an unpleasant discussion at the PACE winter session," says a fellow at the Institute of Slavic Studies, Georgy Engelgardt.

“I believe that the report will put western leaders in an awkward position because it will bring into disrepute the KLA, especially, Hashim Thaci. The report will raise moral and ethical issues at least. Western leaders will have to justify their partnership with Thaci. In fact, the report shows that the majority of crimes was committed during their close cooperation with Thaci," says Georgy Engelgardt.

"The report made a big splash. Its publication poses a serious threat to the present leadership of Kosovo," says Georgy Engelgardt.

“I believe that if the report is approved, the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia will have to follow up on it. In short, the Kosovo leaders will be prosecuted. At the very least, they will be denied all international contacts. It’s a different story when a politician is accused of the falsification of election results and the Council of Europe imposes sanctions against him as we are seeing with Belarus now. The situation with the Kosovo leaders is different because they are accused of committing serious crimes,” Georgy Engelgardt said.

Among those who suffered, according to Marty’s report, are Serbs, Albanians, Russians, Moldovans, Kazakhs and Turks. The judicial commission suggests adopting a resolution on the report and carrying out an investigation into the disappearance of people, corruption and a secret deal between organized criminal groups and politicians at the national and international levels.