SCOTT TAYLOR: Thuggish Kosovo president not aligned with Canadian values
Last week, it was announced that Kosovo President Hashim Thaçi faces a war crimes indictment from the Hague-based Kosovo Specialist Chambers.
According to the special prosecutors, Thaçi, along with eight other former senior military officials of the Kosovo Liberation Army, are collectively accused of committing “nearly 100 murders.”
In addition to the murders, Thaçi and his gang of eight are also alleged to have engaged in “torture, persecution and enforced disappearance.”
For those unfamiliar with the recent history of the Balkans, it might seem startling that the president of a European nation could be indicted for such violent crimes. However, for those who have studied the exploits of Thaçi closely, it raises the question: What took so long to charge him?
The crazy part about all of this is that Hashim Thaçi has never pretended to be anything other than what he is — and, by that, I mean a career criminal and a thug.
In 1993, at the age of 25, Thaçi became a member of the ethnic Albanian KLA, which at the time was listed by the CIA as a terrorist organization.
Thaçi’s self-given nickname was Snake, and he was responsible for trafficking drugs and weapons for the KLA. In 1997, he was convicted in absentia of committing acts of terrorism by the district court in Pristina and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
However, in 1998, as KLA Albanian separatist forces were openly waging an insurgency against Yugoslav security forces, the U.S. State Department had a change of heart. The “terrorist” KLA suddenly became the freedom fighter KLA, and their ringleader Thaçi, a.k.a. Snake, was propelled into the role of statesman.
In March 1999, NATO countries including Canada intervened in Kosovo in support of the KLA. After a 78-day bombing campaign, the Yugoslavs were forced to capitulate.
Naturally, it was Thaçi and his fellow KLA leadership that dominated the postconflict political landscape in Kosovo. Thaçi was elected prime minister of Kosovo in 2007 and, on Feb. 17, 2008, he made a unilateral declaration of independence.
The U.S. immediately recognized Kosovo as an independent state and pressured other countries, including Canada, to similarly redraw the map of Europe.
The Russians used their veto to deny Kosovo membership at the UN, and other European countries with separatist movements within their own borders have blocked Kosovo from joining NATO and the EU.
So while Kosovo remains in a sort of international status limbo, Thaçi has been living up to his old nickname.
The German intelligence agency BND conducted a recent investigation into Thaçi and his regime and concluded that “the key players (including Thaçi) are involved in interlinkages between politics, business and organized crime structures in Kosovo.”
To put it bluntly, Kosovo is a narco-criminal enterprise.
A separate report conducted for the Council of Europe had a far more sinister overtone. It implicated Thaçi and the former KLA commanders of such heinous crimes as human organ trafficking. Innocent victims — both ethnic Serbian and Albanian — were allegedly executed for the purpose of harvesting their organs on the black market.
In November 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hosted Thaçi when he visited Ottawa. Thaçi’s message at the time was that Canada and Kosovo were being targeted by Russian meddling because our two great nations shared the same “principles and values.”
Because Thaçi’s comments mirrored the narrative of the Liberal government — that being “Russia bad” — the Canadian media simply parroted these sentiments without giving any honest context.
Thaçi, a.k.a. Snake, presides over a failed narco-criminal state and he has now personally been indicted for war crimes. How in the world does that align with Canadian principles and values?