News 23 Dec 10

Albania PM Calls for Organ Harvesting Probe

Sali Berisha says Tirana would welcome an investigation into allegations that Kosovo Serbian prisoners were killed in Albania and their organs removed and sold.

Besar Likmeta
Tirana

Albania's Prime Minister said it was time for the EU rule-of-law mission in Kosovo to probe the claims made in the recent Council of Europe Report, extending its probe to Albania if need be.

"Although EULEX has a mandate in the independent state of Kosovo we would welcome its investigation [here]," Berisha told a cabinet meeting. “We guarantee that they will have all the cooperation of Albania’s authorities,” he added. 


Berisha also asked the Minister of Justice to write to the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia, ICTY, informing them that despite the limitations to their mandate, they were welcome to investigate in Albania.

The premier's statement follows publication of a Council of Europe draft report, written by Swiss senator Dick Marty, which was approved by the Council of Europe's Legal and Political Affairs Committee in Paris last Thursday.

The report links a group of former Kosovo Liberation Army fighters, including Kosovo's Prime Minister, Hashim Thaci, to organised crime and accuses them of harvesting the organs of Serbian prisoners and others.

It also criticised Albania for not cooperating in investigating the alleged abuses mentioned in the report.

On Monday, Albania’s General Prosecutor, Ina Rama, rejected claims that Albania hampered investigations into organ harvesting claims.  

"The prosecutor’s office, which enjoys the trust of international investigative bodies, a trust strengthened by its professionalism and the level of cooperation, decries as baseless any insinuation that Albania’s institutions have blocked the investigation of this case," Rama's statement said.

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Background

From Kosovo's Organ-Harvesting Controversy to Special Court

This is the sequence of events leading from the organ-trafficking allegations in Kosovo to the creation of the special court that aims to prosecute Kosovo Liberation Army crimes.

Fatmir Limaj, Kosovo's Road-Builder

Corruption allegations have not dented the popularity of the KLA- fighter-turned-PDK politician who has made it his mission to transform the country’s traffic arteries.

KLA : From Guerilla Wars to Party Plenums

The Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, was an ethnic Albanian guerrilla group that came to the fore in the mid-1990s, demanding the unification of Albanian territories in former Yugoslavia with Albania.

KLA Ran Torture Camps in Albania

The Kosovo Liberation Army maintained a network of prisons in their bases in Albania and Kosovo during and after the conflict of 1999, eyewitnesses allege. Only now are the details of what occurred there emerging.

The Drenica Group

Crime gang allegedly headed by Prime Minister Thaci is said to have run a range of mafia-like enterprises, from cigarette smuggling to trafficking in organs.

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