"I did what was right. I did what was just. I did not regret it then. I do not regret it now,"-Tony Blair 09 2010
We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let's start giving
There's a choice we're making
We're saving our own lives
It's true we'll make a better day
Just you and me
Send them your heart
So they'll know that someone cares
( We Are the World-Lyrics )
The reaction to investigations of the head of the KLA para state in Kosovo Hasim Thaci and his Drebenda gang, in being implicated in the sale of human organs from Serbian prisoners of war threatens, to call into question the nature of the Kosovo War in 1999, what Peter Hitchens has termed the "dry run" for the later disaster in Iraq.
Tim Judah, an established journalist and historian of the conflict has written in the Daily Telegraph ( Blair's Kosovo triumph turns sour 19 Dec 2010)
In a report for the Council of Europe which took two years to compile, he has accused Hashim Thaci, the prime minister of newly independent Kosovo, not only of being a mafia boss, a murderer and a drug dealer – but of having been involved with a group that in 1999 killed prisoners to sell their kidneys.At the time the impact of the intervention in Kosovo could be weighted towards the NATO feeling that something needed to be done to bring closure to the Third Balkan Wars, which had been seen to have begun in Kosovo with Milosevic's speech announcing the revival of Greater Serbian nationalism in 1989.
In Kosovo, which was already reeling from allegations that Mr Thaci's party had indulged in what a senior diplomat called "industrial scale" fraud during last Sunday's elections, the report has been greeted with dismay.
Judah writes that with the 78 day campaign the impact at the time was at best hardly conclusively successful as a "humanitarian intervention",
.....as Serbia capitulated and its police and army pulled out, the boot was on the other foot. As hundreds of thousands of ethnically cleansed Albanian refugees returned, they exacted revenge on the minority Serb enclaves in their own territory, with the KLA playing a leading role.Moreover, Nato troops were effectively told to turn a blind eye to some of what went on.The rest of Judah's article is here
Today Mr Clinton is immortalised in a bronze statue in Pristina, and last summer Mr Blair was greeted by thousands when he visited. He was also introduced to a group of "Toniblers", boys named in his honour. Hobnobbing with Mr Thaci, it was smiles all round.
If ever it is proved that the KLA leader whom Mr Blair backed was really a mafia boss, a murderer and traded in human organs, then the history of that campaign will have to be rewritten – and the gloss put on it by Mr Blair will vanish.
The most damning of Mr Marty's claims is that a number of Serb and other prisoners who had been moved to Albania in the wake of the war were executed and their organs sold. The claim was first made publicly by Carla Del Ponte, the former chief prosecutor of the UN's Yugoslav war crimes tribunal in The Hague in a book in 2008. Subsequent investigations have failed to prove the claims, which Mr Thaci says are defamatory.
The EU's police and justice mission in Kosovo, known as EULEX, has also looked at the case of the so-called "Yellow house" in Albania where some of the organ-harvesting operations are said to have taken place. But unlike Mr Marty, it notes that "to date, our prosecutors have found no evidence or intelligence that would lead us to believe that 'organ harvesting' took place at this location."
There are, however, other allegations that are very real and very current. A courthouse in Pristina heard last week how seven Kosovars were part of an elaborate international "organs for cash" network, in which donors from poor countries such as Moldova, Turkey and Kazakhstan donated their body parts to wealthy patients on the promise of payments of up to EU 15,000 at a time.
Prosecutors named a Turkish surgeon, Yusuf Sonmez, as a conduit between the donors and the patients, with the racket operating from the Medicus clinic in a run-down suburb of Pristina until late 2008. Mr Sonmez, who has been nicknamed "Doctor Vulture", is currently the subject of an international manhunt, although he denies the allegations against him. While no connection has yet been found between the current trafficking allegations and the "organ harvesting" claims of a decade ago, some doubt whether it can be purely coincidence.
Defending his report on Thursday, Mr Marty added that he often seen "terror" in the eyes of witnesses he had talked to. "We discovered that these things were known by intelligence services from the different countries," he said. "It was known by police services. It was known by numerous people who, in private, would say 'Yes we know, but for political reasons we made the choice or we have the duty to remain silent.'"