A report published by Global Initiative emphasizes that war in Kosovo between 1998 and 1999 created a “fertile environment for organized crime”.
“Transnational Tentacles, Global hotspots of Western Balkan Organized Crime” finds that several criminal activities emerged in Kosovo as an “unrecognized entity” which needed assistance from abroad in order to survive.
Crimes that emerged in Kosovo according to the report were smuggling of arms, oil, drugs and stolen cars, as well as corruption.
“These activities built on informal networks and the grey economy, which had developed in response to difficult socio-economic conditions in Kosovo in the 1990s,” it says.
Until 2008 Kosovo was governed by the UN International Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), while after2008 it has been assisted by the European Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX), facilitating the process of integration into EU.
“In this post-conflict context of state-building, weak institutions and poor infrastructure, powerful individuals who had participated in the war and had strong connections with the diaspora enhanced their wealth and influence by drifting between legal and criminal activities,” reads the report.
The report emphasizes that former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) were allegedly linked to some criminal activities, “such as petrol stations that were used for money laundering”.
It also mentions the fact that despite the progress made in state-building, the central government of Kosovo to this day has very little control over the north of the country, where the majority are ethnic Serbs.
It quotes the 2019 report of the European Commission on Kosovo noting ‘the situation in the north of Kosovo with regards to organized crime continues to pose challenges for law enforcement agencies.’
This report published by the Global Initiative looks at global hotspots of criminal activity carried out by groups from the six countries of the Western Balkans; Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia