Serbian claims that the Kosovo Liberation Army dealt in the organ trafficking of Serbian prisoners in Albania are to be investigated inside Albania by the EULEX special prosecutor. The Albanian government today approved a law allowing the investigation.
The allegations go deep and have political ramifications. The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), then under the command of Kosovo's current Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, stand accused of harvesting the organs of Serbian prisoners during the 1989-99 conflict.
Channel 4 News reported that allegations first levelled by former U.N. War Crimes tribunal prosecutor Carla Del Ponte and then investigated by Swiss Council of Europe deputy Dick Marty resulted in a report by Marty which said: "Some Serbians and some Albanian Kosovars were held prisoner in secret places of detention under KLA control in northern Albania and were subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment, before ultimately disappearing."
Serbian prosecutors claim there were approximately 500 victims: 400 Serbs and another 100 non-Albanians. The Washington Times quoted from Marty's report, describing illegal detention centers in northern Albania as including a “state-of-the-art reception center for the organized crime of organ trafficking."
Marty's 2010 report directly implicated Hashim Thaci, known at the time of the illegal trade as "the Snake." Thaci was the commander of the KLA when "the group was kidnapping people, conducting assassinations and selling human organs." According to Pravda Western leaders were informed of Thaci's activities but did nothing to stop him. Indeed the West was eager to co-operate with KLA in spite of its alleged links to drugs money and organized crime, as it benefited Western interests to impose a puppet Albanian government in Kosovo at the time.
Balkan Insight reports that the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) will now be allowed to pursue investigations inside Albania. The investigative task force will have the co-operation of Albania's general prosecutor.
Hashim Thaci, who basked in American political support in spite of the KLA being considered a terrorist group, has denied any involvement in organ trafficking, dismissing allegations as “ill-intentioned propaganda." Pravda reveals that Russia is also pursuing further investigations relating to Thaci and organ harvesting that took place in Pristina, Kosovo, just after the state declared independence, which involved Russian citizens being duped into having their organs removed for payments which never materialised.
If Thaci is formally implicated in organ trafficking it would be deeply embarrassing to his political allies in the west. However it is more likely that any real attempts at investigation will be whitewashed, with evidence conveniently disappearing, as indicated by the long time span since Del Ponte first made her allegations and the actual green light to conduct investigations in Albania.