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News 09 Feb 12

Security Council Split on Kosovo Organ Probe

Debate on Wednesday reveals clear split between China and Russia, which backed Serbia's call for a UN-led probe - and Britain, France and the US, which want the investigation to continue to be run by EULEX.

Marija Ristic
BIRN
Belgrade

The UN Security Council on Wednesday appeared split on whether to allow the EU rule of law mission, EULEX, or the UN, to lead investigations into organ trafficking allegations in Kosovo.

A report by Dick Marty, the Council of Europe rapporteur, has claimed that members of the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, in 1999 and 2000 kidnapped Serbs and others in the former Serbian province, imprisoned and killed them in northern Albania and harvested their body parts to be sold in the black market.  This case is currently being investigated by EULEX.

Among the permanent members of the Security Council, the US, Britain and France favoured leaving the investigation to EULEX while Russia and China supported Serbia’s request for the UN to guide the investigation.

Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic reiterated that negotiations under the authority of the UN's 1999 resolution on Kosovo, Resolution 1244, were the only way to secure long-term peace in Kosovo - therefore the mandate to investigate organ claims belonged to a UN team.

"When it comes to such matters in the Balkan context, a mandate to investigate was always given to the Security Council," he said. 

"Then the process will be transparent and the results will be presented to the whole world," Jeremic told the Security Council meeting on Kosovo.

Russia and China, Serbia's traditional allies among the big powers, agreed.

"We are worried about the way that EULEX is investigating the facts brought forth in Dick Marty's report," Vitaly Churkin, Russia's representative to the UN, said.

"We call on Security Council member countries to support Serbia's proposal and set up an investigative mechanism under the auspices on the Security Council, which will guarantee neutrality," Churkin added.

Kosovo's Foreign Minister, Enver Hoxhaj, repeated Kosovo'c commitment to an open, independent and transparent investigation into organ trafficking led by EULEX.

 

He also urged Europe not to grant Serbia EU candidate status until it had implemented agreements on the cadastral register, mutual recognition of university degrees and on border management.

Rosemary DiCarlo for the US rejected as irresponsible and unfounded the allegations about the EULEX investigating team and claims that Clint Williamson’s reports are biased. 

She also urged Belgrade to do more to carry out its earlier agreements reached with Kosovo.

“The United States is encouraged by progress in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina and we expect to see all the agreements implemented,” DiCarlo said.

The US, together with Germany, France and UK, called for complete freedom of movement throughout Kosovo, describing the road barricades erected by minority Serbs in northern Kosovo as unacceptable and welcoming Serbian President Boris Tadic’s call for their removal.

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Background

21 Jan 11

KLA Organ Trafficking: Fact or Fiction?

Shocking claims have remained in the limelight for years but have yet to be cleared up one way or the other.

09 Apr 09

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.

Timeline

21 Jan 11

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.

Key Players

dick-marty-controversial-investigator
16 Dec 10

Dick Marty, Controversial Investigator

Swiss senator has won plaudits in many countries for championing human rights and taking on the CIA over renditions – but among Albanians he is best known for opposing Kosovo’s independence.

09 Apr 09

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.

11 Oct 08

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.