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.


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4 thoughts on “Bully is as bully does”

  1. Kosovo was never given a chance to have a Kosovo Crime Court. Since 1999, only Internationals have controlled every judicial department.
    How is Kosovo not prepared or not willing to have a Kosovo War Crime Court?
    Why can’t Kosovo be allowed to have its own War Crime Court?
    How was Serbia allowed to have it’s own? And hardly indicted anyone? Moreover, this Serbia is on its way to EU??
    Let me be clear on this and I hope you heed to my message. If Kosovo is not allowe to have its own War Crime Court within its own laws, we will create a path for radicalized society with no future ahead.
    Serbia and its serbianna.com chief editor do support this ‘Special Court’, not to Remove Hashim Thaci, but to bring the radical commanders back from Syria.
    This Special Court will be the end of Kosovo as a normal and democratic state. Someone has to be held responsible for this misguided policy. I know we have to pay dues to appease Serbia, but not at Kosovo’s expense.

    Thank you,

  2. Chuck Sudetich has lost the moral credibility quite a long time ago and I am appalled that Politico.eu published his opinion piece on such a flimsy basis, using quite a nasty language. You are right to point out that some Kosovo leaders MAY be involved in organized crime, as I am sure quite a few Montenegrin, Macedonian, Serbian or Bulgarian politicians are too, but the level of loathing unhidden by Chuck in an opinion peace was quite shocking. I mean, calling the Kosovo foreign minister an “animal”? New lows…

  3. ‘I don’t even know if the alleged organ-trafficking and murder occurred’, Daniel Serwer writes. On both issues he will find useful information in the report (here: http://sitf.eu/index.php/en/news-other/42-statement-by-the-chief-prosecutor-clint-williamson ) of a EU task force (SITF, led by a US prosecutor) that investigated these matters for about three years: (1) their findings, they say, are ‘largely consistent with those in the Marty report’; (2) that ‘also applies to the allegations in question’: namely, it applies to Marty’s ‘allegations of murders for the purpose of harvesting and trafficking human organs’; (3) more precisely, they say that, while they don’t ‘yet’ have ‘a strong enough evidentiary basis to conclude that indictments can be brought as to this aspect of the case’, they have ‘compelling indications that this practice did occur on a very limited scale and that a small number of individuals were killed for the purpose of extracting and trafficking their organs. This conclusion is consistent with what was stated in the Marty Report, namely that a “handful” of individuals were subjected to this crime. The use of the word “handful” by Senator Marty was intentional and it was meant literally.’
    Reading SITF’s report, therefore, might lead Serwer to both moderate his criticism of the Marty report, and of the parts of Sudetic’s article that rely on it, and to offer a fuller picture to his readers.
    SITF’s report, in particular, includes the following statements: ‘Information compiled by SITF indicates that certain elements of the KLA intentionally targeted the minority populations with acts of persecution that included unlawful killings, abductions, enforced disappearances, illegal detentions in camps in Kosovo and Albania, sexual violence, other forms of inhumane treatment, forced displacements of individuals from their homes and communities, and desecration and destruction of churches and other religious sites. This effectively resulted in the ethnic cleansing of large portions of [Kosovo’s Serb and Roma minorities]. Additionally, we have found that certain elements of the KLA engaged in a sustained campaign of violence and intimidation through 1998 and 1999 directed at Kosovo Albanian political opponents, which also included acts of extrajudicial killings, illegal detentions, and inhumane treatment. We believe that the evidence is compelling that these crimes were not the acts of rogue individuals acting on their own accord, but rather that they were conducted in an organized fashion and were sanctioned by certain individuals in the top levels of the KLA leadership. The widespread or systematic nature of these crimes in the period after the war ended in June 1999 justifies a prosecution for crimes against humanity.’

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