"Witnesses of organ trafficking vanished"
|21 December 2010 | 14:48 | Source: Tanjug, Večernje novosti|
|BELGRADE -- A former head of UNMIK Forensics and Missing Persons Office says he first learned about the Kosovo trade in human organs from eight witnesses.|
But Jose Pablo Baraybar explained that the witnesses "have vanished in the meantime".
The forensic anthropologist took samples in the vicinity of the notorious Yellow House in northern Albania in 2004, and two years ago welcomed Dick Marty's investigation, saying it would be the best way to discover the truth.
Baraybar told Belgrade-based daily Večernje Novosti that he got the initial information about the case in late 2002 or early 2003.
He said that some witnesses claimed to have visited the Yellow House in northern Albania, while other said that they saw bodies being carried out from the house and buried at the local cemetery. Others yet said that they drove people to Albania.
The people in question were the victims - Serbs and other civilians kidnapped in Kosovo by the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army, and taken to Albania where their body parts were taken to be sold in the black market.
"We have not talked with anyone who said they were involved in what allegedly went on the Yellow House, or anyone who was kidnapped," Baraybar noted in the interview.
Baraybar added that during his visit to the north Albania location, clues were found that needed to be followed up on, such as drug bottles and surgical containers, and assessed there was sufficient information to continue the investigation.
According to him, the investigation ended after the UNMIK team's visit to Burrel (where the Yellow House is located). This, he says, occurred for several reasons, including the fact that an investigation against Kosovo Albanian politicians and ex-KLA members Fatmir Limaj and Ramush Haradinaj started soon after.
"After this, all the sources that could lead us to the cemetery and show us exactly where the bodies were buried literally disappeared," Baraybar said and added that the witnesses went into hiding, refused to talk or ran away.
A recently completed UNMIK report signed by Baraybar, which was kept from the public eye for four years, reveals that investigators and forensic experts discovered evidence 15 kilometers north of Burrel on February 4, 2004.
At a dump site, investigators found a plastic IV kit container, a syringe, an empty bottle of Tranxene - a drug used as a muscle relaxant and intravenous anesthetic, as well as antibiotics, medicine bottles, pieces of cloth from surgical scrubs, bottles of various pills and an empty gun holster.
All the evidence was turned over to the Hague Tribunal, and destroyed the following year.