Leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), a terrorist organisation supported and armed by President Bill Clinton’s administration, may now face prosecution as a team of international investigators says it has enough evidence to indict leaders of the former KLA for crimes against humanity that left about 500 dead and 300 missing.
Crimes for which the Kosovo Albanian leaders face indictment include murder, abductions, enforced disappearances, illegal detention in camps in Kosovo and Albania, rape and violence against political opponents to obtain power and personal wealth, according to EU Observer.
However, Clint Williamson, the chief prosecutor with the European Union-backed EU Special Investigative Task Force (SITF), said on Tuesday that while Kosovo Albanian militants murdered Serbs and sold their organs, there is not yet enough evidence to bring the guilty to justice.
EU Observer reported that Williamson said around ten people were abducted so that their organs could be removed and sold on the black market.
“There are compelling indications that this practice did occur on a very limited scale and that small number of individuals were killed for the purpose of extracting and trafficking their organs,” he said.
After the war, in which ethnic Albanians fought to seize control of the Serbian province of Kosovo, ended in June 1999 KLA senior officials orchestrated a campaign of ethnic cleansing which drove Serbs, Roma, Jews, Turks and other non-Albanians from their ancestral homeland in Kosovo.
In a report in 2001, Kofi Annan, then the UN Secretary-General, accused the KLA, by then re-named the Kosovo Protection Force, of widespread acts of murder, torture and extortion.
James Bissett, who was Canadian ambassador to Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Albania in 1990-92, wrote in 2001 that: “Condemnation [by Annan] should not have come as a surprise. As early as 1998, the U.S. State Department listed the KLA as a terrorist organization financing its operations with money from the international heroin trade and funds supplied from Islamic countries and individuals, including Osama bin Laden.
“This did not stop the United States from arming and training KLA members in Albania and in the summer of 1998 sending them back into Kosovo to assassinate Serbian mayors, ambush Serbian policemen and intimidate hesitant Kosovo Albanians.”
The chief prosecutor, Williamson, is an American appointed by the EU in 2011 to investigate ethnic cleansing committed in Kosovo since 1999.
According to the Guardian: “Williamson does not name the suspects but describes them as ‘senior officials of the former Kosovo Liberation Army’ (KLA)… Many former KLA commanders went on to leadership positions after Kosovo declared independence in 2008. It is believed at least some of the indictments prepared by the EU special investigative task force (SITF) are against top figures still actively involved in politics.”
However, no cases will be broughtuntil an EU-backed special court is established to hear them. The indictments will remain sealed until that happens, possibly early next year, and no further details of the investigation will be made public, Williamson said.