Just as preliminary results show he has won his country's landmark election, Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi faces allegations of being involved with a mafia-like Albanian group responsible for smuggling weapons and human organs throughout eastern Europe, the Guardian is reporting.
A Council of Europe inquiry report on organized crime named Thaçi as a godfather-like "boss" of a network that began operating criminal rackets in the run-up to the 1999 Kosovo war, and has held powerful sway over the country's government since. The report cites FBI and other intelligence sources, and also names Thaçi as exerting "violent control" over the heroin trade.
On a more grisly note, figures from Thaçi's inner circle are accused of secretly taking captives across the border into Albania after the war, where a few Serbs are said to have been murdered for their kidneys, which were sold on the black market.
Dick Marty, the human rights investigator behind the inquiry, will present his report to European diplomats from all 47 member states at a meeting in Paris on Thursday. The Guardian quotes excerpts from Marty's report:
In confidential reports spanning more than a decade, agencies dedicated to combating drug smuggling in at least five countries have named Hashim Thaçi and other members of his Drenica Group as having exerted violent control over the trade in heroin and other narcotics.
Thaçi and these other Drenica Group members are consistently named as "key players" in intelligence reports on Kosovo's mafia-like structures of organised crime. I have examined these diverse, voluminous reports with consternation and a sense of moral outrage.
According to CNN, the report comes at a critical time for Thaçi, whose Democratic Party of Kosovo led the newly independent nation's weekend elections. However, he now faces the challenge of forming a coalition with other government parties, many of which have accused him of electoral fraud.