Swiss Dick Marty, Rapporteur of the Commitee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, October 2011. EPA/CHRISTOPHE KARABA

Dick Marty, Author of Explosive Kosovo War Crimes Report, Dies at 78

Dick Marty, a Swiss senator who authored a Council of Europe report on alleged violations by Kosovo Liberation Army guerrillas that led to the establishment of the Hague-based Specialist Chambers war crimes court, has died.

Former Swiss senator Dick Marty, who became known in the former Yugoslavia for his report to the Council of Europe on alleged war crimes including organ-trafficking committed by Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA guerrillas, died on Thursday in Switzerland, the Free Democratic Party confirmed.

Marty, who was a Free Democratic Party politician, author of several important international human rights reports and a member of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly, was 78.

“It is with great sadness that we learned of the death of former councillor of states [member of the Swiss federal assembly’s upper house] Dick Marty… The FDP expresses its deepest condolences to his relatives,” the FDP said on X (formerly Twitter).

“Saddened by the passing of Dick Marty, former and greatly appreciated Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe member,” Marija Pejcinovic Buric, secretary-general of the Council of Europe, wrote on X.

In December 2010, Council of Europe published a report authored by Marty which called for criminal investigations into allegations that a criminal network linked to former KLA official turned political leader Hashim Thaci was responsible for the murder, torture and organ-harvesting of ethnic Serbs and Albanians in 1999.

“It is up to the authorities now to pursue that work of truth,” Marty told journalists at the time.

Kosovo’s government denied the allegations, denouncing them as a smear campaign against the KLA and the Kosovo state.

The report led to the creation of a European Union Special Investigative Task Force to probe the alleged crimes.

The EU task force discovered what it said was sufficient evidence for indictments, which led the EU and US to pressurise Kosovo to establish the Kosovo Specialist Chambers war crimes court in 2015. However, the task force failed to substantiate the organ-trafficking claims.

Thaci and other former KLA officials are now on trial at the Hague-based Specialist Chambers for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity. They have pleaded not guilty.

In April 2022, Marty told public broadcaster Radio Television Suisse that he had been under police protection since December 2020.

“The threat seems to come from certain circles of the Serbian secret services who have asked the underworld, professional assassins, to eliminate me simply in order to put the blame on the Kosovars,” Marty said.

In response, Serbia’s Security Information Agency said it had sent a letter to the Swiss Federal Intelligence Service in which it “strongly condemns and denies the malicious claims about the involvement of Serbian security services in planning anyone’s murder”.

Outside the former Yugoslav region, Marty won praise for his Council of Europe reports documenting documented the United States government’s detention and abuse of Muslims in secret CIA prisons after the 9/11 attacks, and for his documentation of serious human rights violations in the North Caucasus region of the Russian Federation.

29/12/2023 - 09:48

29 December 2023 - 09:48

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