News 11 May 12

Albania Gives EULEX Organ Probe Wide Remit

Albania’s parliament passed a law on Thursday giving EULEX sweeping powers to investigate allegations that the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, harvested organs of Serbian prisoners in Albania.

Besar Likmeta
BIRN
Tirana

The bill passed through parliament with the votes of both the centre-right ruling majority and the opposition Socialists. 



The law will give sweeping powers to the EU Rule of Law Mission to Kosovo, EULEX, to call witnesses and search premises in Albania, take evidence and get hold of any materials they deem important. 



Dick Marty, the human rights rapporteur at the Council of Europe, released a report in December 2010 linking former KLA fighters, including Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, to organised crime and accused them of harvesting the organs of Serbian prisoners and others in Albania.



Kosovo and Albania have denied the allegations but have agreed to participate in the international investigation into the claims.



The passage of the bill through parliament was welcomed by the US Embassy in Tirana as a sign of Albania’s commitment to European values.



“The US Embassy welcomes the passage of the law on cooperation with the EULEX Special Investigations Task Force by consensus and views it as a demonstration of Albania's commitment to European integration and regional cooperation,” the statement said.



“The Task Force has full support from the United States. We expect a thorough and proper investigation, conducted with transparency and the full cooperation of local and national authorities,” the embassy added.


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Background

Kosovo's Organ-Harvesting Controversy

Here is a sequence of events leading up to the organ-trafficking charges in Kosovo and the release of the Council of Europe report.

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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