news 28 Sep 12

Kacin Criticises Decision to Air Kosovo Organ Testimony

The European Parliament’s rapporteur for Serbia, Jelko Kacin, has criticised Serbia’s War Crimes Prosecution over a TV interview with a KLA fighter who allegedly took part in harvesting an organ from a Serb prisoner.

Danilo Lucic
BIRN
Belgrade

Kacin criticized Serbia's War Crimes Prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic and his deputy Bruno Vekaric over the decision to air the interview on Serbia's public broadcaster, RTS,  a fortnight ago.

“I hope that Vukcevic and Vekaric are aware of the consequences of this decision, not only in terms of the emotional impact for those still searching for their loved ones, but also for Serbia’s credibility,“ said Kacin.

In the interview, an unnamed witness, allegedly a former fighter in the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, told  RTS that he had removed a prisoner's heart, with the intention of selling it on the black market for human organs, during the 1990s Kosovo conflict.

“I do not want anybody to think that we are not paying any attention to this subject. We are dealing seriously with this issue, “ Kacin added.

Serbia’s war crimes prosecutor, Vladimir Vukcevic,  responded that the Prosecutor’s Office respects Kacin’s opinion and sees it as a well-meaning statement, but that the families of victims gave their consent for the sensitive information to be made pubic, just like the witness himself.

Vukcevic added that the Prosecutor’s Office made sure “the investigation was not threatened in any way,” and that the TV testimoney did not specify time, location or other details of the crime.

Nikola Lazic, a Belgrade criminal lawyer, has stated that  Serbia's Prosecution Office for War Crimes had broken Serbian law, by permitting a protected witness in an ongoing investigation phase to speak out publicly about the case in question.

On Wednesday, President Tomislav Nikolic told the UN General Assembly that Serbia wanted an investigation into the allegations concerning organ trafficking in Kosovo. The allegations were made  in a report by Dick Marty, rapporteur of the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly.

The 2010 report alleges that some elements of the KLA, including Kosovo's Prime Minister Hasim Tachi, had trafficked  the organs of prisoners during the 1999 conflict.

 

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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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