News 17 Dec 10

Albania President Condemns Organ Harvesting Report

Albania’s President Bamir Topi condemned on Friday the Council of Europe report linking top Kosovo politicians to organised crime and organ-trafficking, as baseless and hearsay.

Besar Likmeta
Tirana

“The president condemns forcefully all accusations not based on concrete proof and allegations spun in a web of hearsay, which seem to have been cooked up in a démodé kitchen of ultra-nationalistic circles, which unfortunately continue to exist in the Balkans – a territory where time after time the mass graves of the genocide of Milosevic’s forces are discovered and war criminals wanted by the Hague tribunal find sanctuary,” Topi said in a statement.

“These phantasmagoric accusations, brought up many times, formerly investigated and never proven, do nothing less than slander Albania, the Albanian nation and its identity,” the statement added.

The draft report, which was compiled by Swiss MP Dick Marty, was approved by the Council of Europe's Legal and Political Affairs Committee in Paris on Thursday. It links a group of former Kosovo Liberation Army fighters, including Kosovo's current Prime Minister, Hashim Thaci, to organised crime.

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

Thaci, whose party won the recent elections in Kosovo, called the report "scandalous" and said it is filled with defamation and lies, in a press conference on Thursday.  

In his statement Topi said that the dangerous smokescreen created by the report not only undermined Albania’s image but also risked peace and stability in the region.

He suggested that the best way to put an end to the allegations would be through renewed cooperation between national and international investigative bodies, like EULEX, the Hague tribunal and national prosecutor’s offices, which, he said, despite thorough investigations have found no proof to bring anyone before the courts.

“Albania’s institutions have always cooperated with international specialized institutions regarding the investigations made in the project-resolution compiled by Dick Marty, who has made his stance against Kosovo known worldwide,” Topi 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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