By Griffin W. Huschke, Mayme and Herb Frank Research Fellow
A couple months ago we discussed the grizzly allegations which linked Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci with an organized organ smuggling ring that harvested the innards of POW’s and kidnapped Albanians during the Kosovar war for independence. These claims come after allegations that the perpetrators enacted a wide-ranging cover-up that reached the highest levels of domestic government and international organizations.
It’s been an eventful couple of months for since we last discussed these developments in December. Since then, EULEX, the European Union mission trying to establish rule of law in-country, launched a preliminary investigation into the whole mess to the surprise of no one. EULEX’s hand was forced when the European Commission released the initial claims in late last year, and it was only a matter of time before prosecutors went to work on Thraci and his supposed collaborators. The EU bureaucracy isn’t exactly known for its alacrity, and there’s really no way to know how long it will take for investigators to come up with something substantial. This also promises to be a pretty-wide ranging investigation, so we could be waiting for a while to hear results.
Until then, however, Prime Minister Thaci is back in action. In a triumph of democratic facsimile, Thaci was reelected Prime Minster yesterday, putting the acting head of the country on a collision course with EU investigators and ensuring the BBC has is about to use “embattled” every time it mentions the second-term P.M.
If Kosovo wants to play dress-up with Westphalian sovereignty, it’s going to need major help from the international community—especially transatlantic democracies. Kosovo relied on the West to secure a spot in the IMF and World Bank, but there are still 117 countries in the UN that have yet to recognize Kosovo’s independence, and Serbia hasn’t deigned to even give the country its own international calling code. But there’s no way the Atlantic community is going to provide a lot of help with Kosovo’s pressing issues, including a poverty rate that would make an Algerian blush, when there’s a war criminal running the show . Ending Hashim Thaci’s political career (by resigning due to his hypothetical sense of common good or being forced out by the political Powers That Be) would show that Kosovo has the sensibilities of a responsible European nation. Until it’s ready to do that, good luck with that whole smoldering Serbian insurgency in the north.