News 08 Feb 13

‘New Witness’ in Kosovo Organ Trafficking Case

Serbia’s war crimes prosecutor said there were new leads in the investigation into alleged organ trading by Kosovo fighters during the late 1990s conflict.

Novi Magazin, BIRN

War crimes prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic told the Novi Magazin weekly that Serbian prosecutors had informed the EU’s rule of law mission in Kosovo that a new witness had emerged who could shed fresh light on the controversial case.

“A witness to the medical procedures, who is known as ‘Darko’ and is under [police] protection, is a valuable source of relevant data,” Vukcevic said.

He added that he had received “encouraging news” from the EU that any court case would not be held in Kosovo.

A 2010 report by the Council of Europe's then human rights rapporteur, Dick Marty, alleged that some elements within the Kosovo Liberation Army, including Kosovo's current Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, had harvested and sold the organs of prisoners during its 1999 conflict with Serbian forces.

The organ trafficking investigation generated more controversy last year when a Serbian TV station broadcast an interview with an alleged ex-Kosovo Liberation Army member who claimed to have harvested the organs of Serbian prisoners in the Albanian town of Kukes in 1999.

The televised interview was criticised by both international and local experts, saying it could harm the investigation into organ trafficking claims.

Both Kosovo and Albania have denied the allegations.

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