Dick Marty's immunity from appearing in legal proceedings as a former member of the European Parliament and the Council of Europe Rapporteur may prevent him from testifying in the Medicus case.
The EU rule of law mission to Kosovo says it is awaiting clarification from the Council of Europe on whether its rules mean that former envoy, Dick Marty, is not obliged to appear in a Kosovo court as a witness in the Medicus Case.
Marty has been summoned to appear, but CoE guidelines state that all its representatives have immunity from "arrest and all legal proceedings in the territories of all Members, in respect of words spoken and votes cast in the debates of the Assembly or its committees or commissions".
The case centres on allegations that the Kosovo-based clinic organised and carried out the sale and transplant of kidneys from poor donors to various wealthy clients.
According to an indictment, 30 operations involving illegal kidney transplants were conducted at the clinic, by luring poor people from Istanbul, Moscow, Moldova and Kazakhstan on false promise that they would get up to €15,000 for their organs.
Nine persons have been charged with human trafficking, organised crime and the unlawful exercise of medical activities, including university professor Lutfi Dervishi, who is accused of being the ringleader.
Dervishi, owner of the Medicus Clinic, has accused EULEX of libel and said the indictment against him and his associates was politically motivated.
EULEX spokesperson Blerim Krasniqi said the Pristina District Court had sent the request for Marty to testify “through diplomatic channels.
“The judges are awaiting a decision of the competent authorities over his [Marty's] immunity," he told BIRN, adding that the decision should come from the Council of Europe.
The EULEX prosecutor in the Medicus Case, Jonathan Ratel, on March 23, asked the Court to call Marty as a witness, which was then adopted by the presiding judge Arkadiusz Sedek.
"Marty claims he has some important information on this issue so we will ask him what sort of information he has and what the sources of this information are," Sedek said.
In December 2010, the Council of Europe adopted a report by Marty, which alleged that a criminal network linked to Kosovo’s current Prime Minister Hashim Thaci executed kidnapped civilians and sold their organs after the 1999 Kosovo war.
The report said that “numerous concrete and convergent indicators confirm that some Serbians and some Albanian Kosovars were held prisoner in secret places of detention under KLA control in northern Albania and were subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment, before ultimately disappearing.”
Kosovo and Albania have condemned the trafficking and organ harvesting claims as baseless but have pledged to back the probe.
In his report, Marty said he had found "credible, convergent indications" that wartime organ trafficking was "closely related to the contemporary case of the Medicus clinic.”
The Council of Europe Communication Division told Balkan Insight it could not specify whether and how it will act on the EULEX request to call Marty as a witness.
EULEX sources say they “may well propose to Marty to testify via a video-link.”
The trial is set to resume on May 10 at the District Court of Pristina.
Here is a sequence of events leading up to the organ-trafficking charges in Kosovo and the release of the Council of Europe report.
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.
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.
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.
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.