Sunday, December 19, 2010

Serb Prisoners Murdered for their Organs?

Was Kosovo's recently re-elected Prime Minister involved in murdering Serb prisoners for their organs during the 1999 civil war? An official report from a committee of the Council of Europe said this week that there is enough evidence to warrant further investigation. This was angrily repudiated by Hashim Thaci, the prime minister, as defamatory and as Serb propaganda. These rumours had been thoroughly discredited many times, he told a press conference in Pristina.

The report, by Swiss politician Dick Marty, says that there are "numerous indications" that organs were removed from some prisoners of the Kosovo Liberation Army in 1999. Mr Thaci, a former KLA commander, was accused of being "the boss" of a mafia-like criminal organisation involved in heroin dealing and organ trafficking.

According to the Guardian, which received an advance copy, the report says: "The testimonies on which we based our findings spoke credibly and consistently of a methodology by which all of the captives were killed, usually by a gunshot to the head, before being operated on to remove one or more of their organs."

The organ trafficking seems to have continued after the war. Seven men were charged this week in Pristina this week. Poor people from Moldova, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkey were promised up to €14,500 for their organs. The recipients, who came from Canada, Germany, Poland and Israel, paid between €80,000 and €100,000 for them. But the donors were never paid, European Union prosecutor Jonathan Ratel told Pristina District Court. Five of the seven were doctors.

The gruesome story is extremely murky, but this week's developments support claims made by Carla Del Ponte, a former United Nations war crimes prosecutor, in a 2008 book. ~ Guardian, Dec 14

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