onsdag 2 mars 2011

Kosovo: EU mission begins probe of alleged organs trafficking

Kosovo: EU mission begins probe of alleged organs trafficking

ultimo aggiornamento: 02 marzo, ore 17:11

Pristina, 2 March - (AKI) - The European Union judicial and police mission in Kosovo (EULEX) has opened an investigation into alleged human organs trafficking by the Kosovo Liberation Army, EULEX spokesperson Christine Herodes said on Wednesday.
“For now, we are talking only about preliminary investigation,” she told Kosovo Albanian language media.

“The results of the investigation have to be kept secret,” she added.

EULEX is probing claims that high-ranking KLA officers were involved in trafficking of human organs removed from hundreds of Serb prisoners during the Kosovo 1999 war and afterwards.

The disturbing claims were made in a January report by an investigator for Europe's top human rights watchdog The Council of Europe, Dick Marty.

Marty, a Swiss lawyer, said the operation couldn’t have been carried out without the knowledge of the current Kosovo prime minister Hasim Thaci, who was then political director the KLA, which fought for independence from Serbia.

Thaci and other Kosovo officials have rejected the accusations as “Serbian propaganda”, but said they were ready to cooperate in an international investigation.

“We are expecting evidence from Dick Marty in order to be able to start a detailed investigation,” Herodes said. At the moment, the mission’s cooperation with Marty boils down to an “exchange of letters”, she added.

Marty claimed that at least 300 Serb prisoners were transported by the KLA to northern Albania, where their organs were harvested and patients were left to die. The organs were later sold on the international black market, he said.

Organs trafficking allegations were first published in 2008 by former chief prosecutor of the Hague-based United Nations war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia Carla del Ponte in her book “The Hunt”.

Marty has said he doubts EULEX will be able to investigate the reports, as it has no mechanism to protect witnesses. He has called for the creation of an independent international body to investigate the alleged crimes.

Del Ponte said she would be willing to head an ad hoc body, provided there was “political will” in the international community to find out the truth.

“For me personally, it would be a challenge to head the investigation in Kosovo,” she told Swiss media.

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