Bully is as bully does
Chuck Sudetic is at it again: he published the original allegations of murder and organ trafficking by Kosovar leaders with Carla Del Ponte in her memoir. He reiterated the allegations in the Washington Post in 2011, neglecting to mention the lack of forensic evidence dutifully noted in the Council of Europe report on which he relied heavily. Now he has gotten lots of former diplomats to make anonymous allegations against Kosovar “bullies,” though many of their allegations appear to be about corruption rather than murder and organ trafficking. It is about time someone worried who the bully really is.
Let me be clear: I have no idea whether there are Kosovar leaders guilty of the crimes alleged. I certainly won’t be surprised if some of them are corrupt. But I don’t even know if the alleged organ-trafficking and murder occurred.
I have been hearing the allegations since the early 2000s, when the journalist who discovered the story recounted it to me. He never published it because he thought he had insufficient evidence to meet journalistic standards, but he turned over what evidence he had to the EU rule of law authorities in Kosovo. They were unable to make a case and turned over what they had to ICTY, which allegedly lost whatever it was given, ironically during Carla Del Ponte’s time as chief prosecutor.
The Council of Europe and Dick Marty chimed in in 2010, with a report full of dramatic allegations but no forensic evidence and a sentence, never mentioned by Chuck, saying that no pronouncements of guilt are justified. Let me cite the precise language (para 175):
Our task was not to conduct an criminal investigation – we are not empowered to do so, and above all we lack the necessary resources – let alone to pronounce judgments of guilt or innocence.
The contradiction is not my invention; it is in the original document.
Now we’ve got Chuck piping up again with a piece in which he admits Hashim Thaci spoke forcefully and publicly in the Kosovo parliament in favor of a special tribunal to examine the allegations, but instead of praising him for his courage and wondering if he might in fact be innocent Chuck smears as much mud as he can, using anonymously sourced statements from present and former diplomats.
Hmmm. I’m a former diplomat and pleased to be quoted by name whenever I am pretty sure I’m correct.
Is Hashim capable of saying one thing publicly while maneuvering to do another behind the Americans’ and Europeans’ backs? Any Balkans politician worth his salt can do that, but I’d like to see better evidence of it than Chuck puts forward.
I’m on record in favor of the special court that the Americans and Europeans are pushing on Kosovo to receive indictments and try cases arising from the allegations against Kosovo leaders. The Kosovo court system has not been prepared or willing to take on these cases. The juridical difficulties and likelihood of initimidation in tiny Kosovo justify a court that sits outside the country staffed by internationals. But the kind of bullying Chuck is doing is hardly conducive to getting the politicians of a newly independent (and not yet fully sovereign) country to swallow this bitter pill.
Accountability is important. So is responsibility. Serious allegations based on anonymous sources without corroborating evidence is irresponsible.