news 18 Jun 12

Marty's Testimony At Organ Trial Delayed

Dick Marty’s scheduled testimony in the Medicus organ-trafficking case has been postponed until September.

Fatmir Aliu
BIRN
Pristina

Dick Marty, the Council of Europe's human rights rapporteur, had been expected to testify in the Kosovo court on June 18, but did not appear on Monday.

The EU Rule of Law Mission to Kosovo, EULEX, prosecutor in the Medicus case, Jonathan Ratel, told the District Court in Pristina that Marty’s testimony had been postponed.

EULEX’s spokesperson Blerim Krasniqi told BIRN that Dick Marty is expected to testify in early September.

According to the statement from EULEX, "The Council of Europe is reviewing EULEX’s request to summon Dick Marty to testify in the Medicus trial. This process takes time, therefore the panel of judges in the Medicus case has decided to postpone Marty’s testimony until the beginning of September."

The Medicus case centres on allegations that a group of people brought poor donors and rich recipients to the Medicus clinic to carry out the harvesting and transplant of kidneys.

The Medicus clinic, just outside Pristina, is also linked to a December 2010 Council of Europe report made by Marty, a former Swiss Senator, which alleged that some elements of the Kosovo Liberation Army had traded the organs of prisoners during the 1999 conflict.

BIRN has previously reported  that 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.

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".

According to the indictment, 30 operations involving illegal kidney transplants were conducted at the clinic, operations which were enabled by luring people from slums in Istanbul, Moscow, Moldova and Kazakhstan with false promises of up to €15,000 for their organs.

Seven Kosovo Albanians and two foreigners have been charged with human trafficking, organised crime and unlawful medical activities. The accused includes the alleged ringleader, university professor and owner of the clinic, Lutfi Dervishi and also the Turkish surgeon Yusuf Sonmez.

Sonmez’s lawyer said recently that his client is ready to testify via a video-link from Turkey to prove his innocence.

In a recent interview for BIRN, Dervishi, who is the owner of the Medicus Clinic, has accused EULEX of libel and said that the indictment against him and six other associates is politically motivated. 

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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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