Last week the Economist published an article about the special court set up to try Kosovo war crimes. As someone who takes a special interest in Kosovo I wrote this letter to the paper. It was not published which is no problem as I am sure the Economist like all papers received far more letters than it can publish.
But for those interested in Western Balkan issues it may be of interest
“It would indeed be good if the proposed special court for Kosovo could put to rest the ghosts of the 1998-1999 short war of independence. (Economist 19 June) Terrible things did happen and men with blood on their hands undoubtedly went into politics. There has been little justice for the all the dead Muslim Kosovans shot, usually on the same day to judge by their grave-stones, by Serb gunmen acting under Belgrade’s supervision.
On Saturday (20 June) in London I caught Martin McGuinness, the Ulster political leader, speaking in Parliament Square. There are grave allegations laid against him from his time as an IRA leader but sensibly Britain moved to a so-called peace process rather than remain locked and blocked by the allegations of the murders and tortures carried out in the Northern Irish conflict.
As a FCO minister I urged Ramush Haradinaj, a former Kosovan Liberation Army leader, later prime minister, to surrender himself to the Hague. He did so and was acquitted. The allegations of organ harvesting made by the Swiss politician, Dick Marty, in his rambling highly personal Council of Europe report against Hasim Thaci, another KLA leader turned politician, have never been substantiated despite major UN and journalist inquiries. That bad, evil things happened Yes. That in the middle of rough terrain under attack it was possible to set up sterile operating units with expert surgeons to extract human organs for sale is not credible.
Mr Marty’s report had few sources and some of those were anonymous quotes from intelligence agencies with axes to grind and scores to settle. Belgrade continues to pump out its line that Kosovo still belongs to Serbia and the discrediting of all Kosovan leaders is a priority for Belgrade and its friends, notably Mr Putin.
Right now Hungary is building a new security wall on its 109 mile border with Serbia. The longer Serbia refuses to make peace with Kosovo the more the rest of Europe will just want to shut down all contact with the entire region.
The court hearings will last years and bring no justice, no peace, no reconciliation. There ought to be a better way.”