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Kosovo Liberation Army accused of organ trafficking

Kosovo Liberation Army accused of organ trafficking
In a chilling look at the realities behind the push for Kosovo independence, a European investigation alleges that civilian detainees of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) were kidnapped and murdered so their organs could be sold on the black market.

The shocking revelations follow a two-year investigation into a criminal underworld that traveled up the chain of command to the very door of Kosovo’s US-backed Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, the leader of the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), and former political leader of the KLA.

The report by Council of Europe investigator Dick Marty suggests that the entrepreneurial Thaci was the “boss” of the grisly trade, while also exerting "violent control" over the heroin trade.

The report on the alleged criminal activities, which are alleged to have occurred at the hands of Kosovo Albanians after the Kosovo war ended in 1999, will be presented on Thursday to the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly in France.

Readers will recall that the reasoning behind the NATO attack on Yugoslavia was that Serbian forces were committing "genocide" in the breakaway province of Kosovo against ethnic Albanians. The aerial strikes lasted from March 24, 1999 to June 10, 1999, when Belgrade finally surrendered to the coalition forces.

The European investigation of the KLA's alleged trade in organs was commenced following the publication of a book by United Nation’s War Crimes tribunal prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, entitled “The Hunt: Me and War Criminals” (2008), in which she presents exhaustive evidence that the Kosovo Albanians were guilty of kidnapping Serbs and murdering them for their organs.

Del Ponte provides grisly details of the alleged organ trade, and of how some prisoners endured what can only be described as a nightmare.

"The victims, deprived of a kidney, were then locked up again, inside the barracks, until the moment they were killed for other vital organs,” Del Ponte writes. “In this way, the other prisoners were aware of the fate that awaited them, and according to the source, pleaded, terrified, to be killed immediately.”

The world's leading war crimes investigator said her desire to pursue the subject was in response to information she had received from journalists working in the region.

It is estimated that of some 400 Serbians who went missing in the war, many of them may disappeared into the depths of this criminal underworld.

The government of Kosovo, meanwhile, released a statement on Tuesday that called the report an attempt “to tarnish the image of the Kosovo Liberation Army.”

Meanwhile, a Pristina court has heard a case against seven Kosovans for their alleged participation in an international network that bought organs from people living in “dire economic straits” and sold on the black market.

European Union Prosecutor Jonathan Ratel told the Pristina District Court on Tuesday that the defendants, including a former Health Ministry official, promised poor people from neighboring countries up to $20,000 for their organs, which were then allegedly sold to patients from Canada, Germany, Poland and Israel for up to $140,000.

The prosecution alleged that the organ-harvesting racket recruited over a dozen foreign nationals in 2008.

The seven individuals have pleaded not guilty to charges of people trafficking, unethical medical practices and violations of human rights. None of the accused are in custody, while two other suspects, a Turkish and an Israeli national, are the subjects of an international police hunt.

The prosecution has also alleged that Kosovo surgeon Lutfi Dervishi is the leader of the crime ring.

The Belgrade-based daily newspaper, Blic, has reported that Dervishi is also connected to the Kosovo Liberation Army's alleged organ-harvesting operation.

Tuesday's session was adjourned until January 6 to allow the prosecution more time to provide additional documents.

The Council of Europe has said it will deliberate on the full range of testimony and evidence available in the Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg on January 25th before it delivers its final conclusions.

Robert Bridge, RT