Shocking claims have remained in the limelight for years but have yet to be cleared up one way or the other.
The allegations of organ harvesting, which first surfaced in the book Madame Prosecutor, by Carla del Ponte, former chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, ICTY, are arguably the most shocking ever leveled at the KLA.
Del Ponte said the KLA might have kidnapped several hundred civilians in Kosovo in 1999 and taken them to northern Albania, some of whom were sent to Burrel where their organs were harvested in the so-called “Yellow House”.
In 2003, a joint mission by the UN force in Kosovo, UNMIK, and the ICTY visited the house 40 minutes from the village of Rribe to investigate the allegations that organs from Serbs and others, abducted from Kosovo, had been “harvested” there.
The inquiry did not proceed further and there are claims that evidence was later destroyed.
The EU rule-of-law mission in Kosovo, EULEX, took over the file from UNMIK in 2008. It again failed to uncover any hard evidence to back up organ-harvesting claims, although, following an investigation by BIRN, it has begun proceedings against KLA figures for murder and torture in wartime camps in northern Albanian.
But a series of events in 2010 kept the still unsubstantiated allegations close to the limelight. First, Serbia’s war-crime prosecutor’s office claimed it had evidence of KLA organ-trafficking.
Later that year, EULEX lodged indictments for organ trafficking in connection to a clinic based on the outskirts of Pristina, called Medicus.
The incendiary report for the Council of Europe by Swiss senator Dick Marty, released in December 2010, sharply raised the temperature.
Marty claimed to have obtained evidence that proved senior members of the KLA used a warehouse near Tirana airport in 1999 to harvest the organs of prisoners.
EULEX now awaits evidence from Marty to further inspect the case, the KLA continue to dismiss the allegations and Kosovo’s detractors persist in using the claims to attack the country’s independence.
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.