Sofia Echo

South Eastern Europe

Draft CoE report slams failure to protect war crimes witnesses in Kosovo

Author: The Sofia Echo staff Date: Thu, Jan 06 2011 7 Comments, 3328 Views
Share: share on Twitter share on Facebook Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn
Print Send via email

Against a background of at least one murder of a would-be witness and a "real threat" of retaliation against those in Kosovo who agree to give evidence as witnesses to war crimes, a draft Council of Europe report describes profound failings in witness protection in Kosovo.
The report, to be debated by the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly on January 26 2011, follows a report to the CoE by Dick Marty that alleged that Kosovo prime minister Hashim Thaci had been involved in illegal organ trafficking in his days as a Kosovo Liberation Army leader. Thaci denies the allegations and has said he could take court action.
The report on witness protection was compiled by an assembly member from Monaco, Jean-Charles Gardetto, and says that Kosovo has no adequate witness protection programme and although witnesses in sensitive cases testify anonymously, they still continue to physically remain in Kosovo and face danger of their identities being revealed.
"Witnesses are seen as traitors by the community where they testify. This discourages witnesses to come forth with their testimonies. Furthermore, many people don’t believe they have a moral and legal duty to testify over criminal issues," he said in the report.
The report says that Kosovo has no witness protection law, although a draft is being circulated among the ministries.
A United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) regulation on the Protection of Injured Parties and Witnesses in Criminal Proceedings gives trial panels the power to implement a series of protective measures.
In the most serious cases, witnesses are able to testify anonymously.
"However, it was made clear to the rapporteur that these measures are useless as long as the witness is physically in Kosovo, where everybody knows everybody else," the Gardetto report said.
"Most witnesses are immediately recognised by the defence when they deliver their testimony, despite all the anonymity measures."

When a witness does come forward, there is a real threat of retaliation, according to the report.
"This may not necessarily put them in direct danger, losing their job for example, but there are also examples of key witnesses being murdered," the report said.
The report quoted an OSCE report that said in Kosovo, all too frequently, witnesses who initially make statements to the police later change their testimony or become unwilling to testify at trial, because they fear reprisals.
Incidents of witness intimidation and injury occur often enough to justify this reluctance on the part of witnesses, according to the OSCE report.
Witnesses who testify anonymously or under a protection programme also fear that their identities will be disclosed.
Indeed, local newspapers have frequently revealed the identities of protected witnesses, according to the Gardetto report.
"Threats and assaults on witnesses often go unpunished," his report said.

  • Thaçi, minority parties sign deal on new Kosovo government
  • Kosovo: Security Council debate hears calls for probe into alleged human organ trafficking
  • Marty report ‘could delay’ Belgrade-Priština dialogue – Kosovo acting president
  • Shaping Serbia and Kosovo
  • EU may investigate Kosovo PM Hashim Thaçi for organ trafficking
  • Western Balkans, Middle East: An interview with Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister
    • Anonymous
      Trolala Rating:
      #7 12, 50, Wed, Jan 12 2011

      Stop with the insecure ifs and wondering. Grow up!

      4th week of the martivic shenanigans, and the Serb lying spirit is again back on the gutter with the rest of their yapped lies.

      Kids from various ages come here to tell us about some fake news their grandparents want to beleive, but knowing that those grandparents are a dirty ethnic nationalist ultra terrorist supporting nazis. Still supporting genocidal scum.
      Well thats Serbia and their "negotiation"

    • Anonymous
      Peggy Rating:
      #6 13, 48, Mon, Jan 10 2011

      Hahaha Sat, Jan 08 2011 20:30 CET

      "The Muriqi brothers, witnesses in the case against Ramush Haradinaj, who were reported as murdered by the CoE Rapporteur Jean Charles Gardetto, are alive."

      There goes the credibility

      Really? I wonder how many people are going to put their hand up and say they have that name there?

      If they are real then how come they were declared missing? By declaring someone missing if they are not you are committing a crime. It's [...]

      Read the full comment called filing a false report.
      Either these guys are not the real ones (more than one person can share the same name) or they and their relatives have committed a crime by filing false reports.
      Gee, I wonder why they would do that.

    • Anonymous
      trola Rating:
      #5 21, 00, Sun, Jan 09 2011

      glucose oxidase enzyme (GOx)

      Europe is not a person, but they know Serbia, thats why out of 3 Eu countries Serbia borders, only Romania cares about your Kosovo tears. And because you spell truth in capitals, its only a word, in an extreme militant ethnic nationalist accusation at best.

      As for the negative propaganda, WHERE ARE THE GENOCIDAL BUTCHERS? Dont worry i am not assuming that they are in Serbia ;)

    • Anonymous
      Gox Rating:
      #4 00, 41, Sun, Jan 09 2011

      Finally the TRUTH is going to come out what really happened in Kosovo, and Europe will realise that Serbian people are not that what Blear and Clinton/Bush tried to forcefully employ!
      The European Union should punish the real criminals and free the Serbian nation of the negative propaganda for years which really destroyed our economy and human existence to undeserving levels! Europe should 'at least' help Serbian people to forgive your mistakes and make a real and human approach to it to be able to honestly convince Serbia to join Europe on equal levels and Europe should help [...]

      Read the full comment very much Serbia to achieve this!

    • Anonymous
      Hahaha Rating:
      #3 20, 30, Sat, Jan 08 2011

      "The Muriqi brothers, witnesses in the case against Ramush Haradinaj, who were reported as murdered by the CoE Rapporteur Jean Charles Gardetto, are alive."

      There goes the credibility

    • Anonymous
      Kosovar Rating:
      #2 01, 52, Sat, Jan 08 2011

      Another diamond came from EU parliamentarians. It looks like that the report of this so called lawyer Jean-Charles Gardetto,will be another boomerang to the EU Council. I really do not believe my ayes when I red his report. Is there any credibility on his report? I very much doubt because the names of the persons that this gentleman is mentioning in his report and stating that these persons have been killed by who ever on the Haradinaj case are still alive and very healthy. This is so embarrasing for the EU itself and then the country that this gentleman is [...]

      Read the full comment representing.

      A shout out to EU Council: PLEASE STOP EMBARRASSING YOURSELF with this kind of reports.

    • Anonymous
      SHEMI Rating:
      #1 01, 29, Sat, Jan 08 2011


    To post comments, please, Login or Register.
    Please read the The Sofia Echo forum comments policy.