Council of Europe Hails Kosovo Organ-Trafficking Revelations

The European rights body welcomed an EU report accusing senior Kosovo Liberation Army figures of post-war crimes and saying there were compelling indications of organ-trafficking by fighters.

(kosovocompromisestuff) Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Council of Europe on Wednesday praised the EU Special Investigative Task Force report which said there was evidence to prosecute unnamed senior Kosovo Liberation Army officials for crimes against humanity including abductions and murders committed after the 1999 conflict.The head of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly, Anne Brasseur, also praised the report, issued on Tuesday, which said that there were “compelling” indications that KLA fighters had been involved in organ-trafficking, although only on a very limited scale with a few individuals involved.“Today I welcome that in the case of trafficking in human organs in Kosovo, truth’s onward march also continues,” Brasseur said.The organ-trafficking allegations first emerged in a 2010 report by Council of Europe rapporteur Dick Marty, which claimed that groups including senior Kosovo Albanian guerrillas had been involved in killing several Serb and Albanian prisoners and removing their kidneys to sell them.The 2010 report also detailed other human rights abuses by elements connected to the former KLA, as well as “a nexus” between KLA elements and organised crime.The EU then set up its Special Investigative Task Force (SITF) in 2011 to further probe Marty’s findings.“Although no final conclusions have as yet been presented, SITF has found compelling evidence to file indictments against certain former senior officials of the Kosovo Liberation Army with respect to major human rights violations, findings that are largely based on and consistent with Dick Marty’s report,” Brasseur said.“Whenever a conflict has occurred, all criminals must be prosecuted and held responsible for their illegal acts, whichever side they belonged to and irrespective of their political role,” she added.Brasseur echoed concerns in the EU report about the intimidation of witnesses. SITF said that there had been “active efforts to undermine” its investigation.“I note with regret the existence, in certain quarters, of a climate of witness intimidation and I call on the authorities of Serbia, Albania and the Kosovo administration to cooperate unreservedly with ongoing investigations,” she said.