Serbian intelligence services had allegedly planned to kill former Swiss prosecutor Dick Marty, forcing the Swiss police to issue its highest alert level and protect him and his family for 16 months.
Marty was a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in 2010, when he presented a report alleging that the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and its political leader Hashim Thaci had organized the killing of prisoners to remove and traffic their organs.
The plan to kill the former Swiss rapporteur was reportedly attempted when Thaci resigned as president of Kosovo to face charges for crimes against humanity and war crimes part of which are alleged in the Marty report. The Serbian intelligence services allegedly planned to blame Kosovo once they had executed the Swiss politician in his own country.
The shocking news was revealed by Swiss public broadcaster Radio Télévision Suisse’s (RTS) last weekend. The show “Mise au Point” focused on Marty’s life which has been under constant and heavy police protection since 2020 and the Swiss government’s alleged reluctance to pursue the matter internationally due to fear of souring relations with Serbia.
The Serbian plan to kill Dick Marty
“On December 18, 2020, I received a call from the police informing me that I was being threatened with death and telling me that I was going to be immediately placed under high police protection,” Marty told RTS.
Police immediately offered him the maximum level of protection, out of a scale of five, and advised him to change his identity and go into hiding.
“‘Level 5’ meant to disappear but for me it was totally excluded,” he stated, “so we have remained until today at a very high level: Level 4.”
Police officers “armed to the teeth” rushed into Marty’s family house and stayed for four and a half months to protect the politician.
Marty cut all communication with friends and extended family in order to minimize possible danger to him and to them.
“At the end of 2020, he sent me an encrypted message asking me not to contact him anymore,” Marty’s politician friend Franco Cavalli told RTS. “It’s shocking to think that such a thing could happen in Switzerland.”
Nearly one and a half years later, his house is still protected by police, and a “safe room” was arranged inside it for the family to take refuge in case of an attack.
Practically turned into a prisoner in his own house in the heart of Europe, Marty rarely takes any short trips during which he always wears a bulletproof vest and travels in an armored car escorted by other police cars.
“The threats apparently came from certain circles of the Serbian intelligence service who asked the underworld, professional killers, to liquidate me just so they could put the blame on Kosovars. As for the killers, they would be part of the ‘underworld’”, Marty said, adding that: “There are veterans who are specialized in warrant killings, commission killings, which means you don’t need a lot of money to have someone liquidated.”
The Swiss intelligence service informed the federal police of the danger posed to Marty after receiving the following information from their sources in December 2020, according to a document of the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG):
“Dick Marty is to be killed on the orders of the Serbian secret services. The assassination of Dick Marty was reportedly entrusted to Serbian men who have long carried out such missions for the Serbian secret service and who were trained by the latter. They would be ‘absolute professionals’ who would execute the assassination ‘without leaving a trace’. For the planned attack, a Serb reportedly smuggled weapons into Switzerland sometime in December 2020. In order to benefit from the press attention linked to the indictment of Hashim Thaci, the murder should be presented as being attributable to the Kosovar/Albanian (former UCK) government in order to discredit it internationally.”
Marty called on Swiss authorities to react “harshly and quickly”:
“A state [secret] service apparently wants to eliminate me in order to discredit its adversary. It is absolutely unacceptable,” he told RTS. “Our judicial authorities should react harshly and quickly.”
Swiss authorities’ reluctance to pursue the matter with Serbia
The former prosecutor says he cannot live all his life under police protections but the Swiss Attorney General’s Office seems reluctant to pursue the matter properly, according to Marty.
Following a request for action by Marty, Swiss authorities have planned to send police officers to Serbia in April to discuss the matter with their Serbian colleagues. However, Marty insists that this step and the investigation launched one year ago are insufficient.
“This means that the Federal Prosecutor will not travel to Serbia and that he will not file a request for legal assistance and that Bern will renounce diplomatic action. All this despite the existence of concrete indications of a planned assassination of a former rapporteur of the Council of Europe and former Swiss senator by the intelligence services of a foreign country and professional killers!” Marty told RTS.
The authors of the RTS show “Mise au Point” raised questions whether the Swiss authorities’ apparent reluctance to pursue the matter internationally relates to their fears of backlash from Serbia and its allies that would block Switzerland’s bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for 2023-2024. Additionally, they ask whether Switzerland is preferring to keep the case at home in order not to provoke a crisis between Kosovo and Serbia.
The government’s reply to RTS didn’t answer these questions but referred journalists to the Police and Attorney General’s Office. The latter stated that Swiss authorities “have put in place a vast system of measures,” without clarifying whether they will pursue the case internationally.
No reaction yet from Albania and Kosovo
The news was reported in the Albanian media both in Albania and Kosovo but it didn’t get the attention it deserves.
Albanians and other people in the region are probably not shocked by the news of another Serbian state plot to kill people in order to instigate ethnic clashes. Serbia has engaged in such brutal killings in the past, including the killing of six Serb boys, only to blame the massacre on Kosovo authorities and arrest Albanians for the horrendous crime without any evidence.
Dick Marty is surely not loved among Albanians, who consider his report full of speculations and unsubstantiated claims about alleged organized organ trafficking by their wartime heroes. Based on his report, one of the main Kosovo Liberation leaders, Hashim Thaci and others have been accused and are facing trial.
The governments of Albania and Kosovo have yet to react to the news.
Albania is in a particularly good position to push the matter in international forums by taking advantage of its current non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council and the related diplomatic connections.
An increased international pressure on Serbia could not sit well with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, who has worked to paint Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in wonderful colors recently, while being unable to hide the damning portrait of Vucic regime’s refusal to condemn the Russian aggression against Ukraine and impose sanctions.
Kosovo institutions, including the president, parliament, and government, could and should play a role in easing the Albanian government’s reluctance by publicly asking it to assist them in denouncing the Serbian plan to kill Marty in international forums, while also doing all in their power not to let the matter slip from international attention.