Belgrade, 23 April 2008 – The Serbian War Crimes Prosecution is checking allegations about KLA’s trafficking of organs of kidnapped and murdered Kosovo Serbs.At the same time, the Prosecution says it is working to collect evidence for an appeal on the Hague Tribunal’s recent acquittal of a former KLA commander, Ramush Haradinaj.
The Prosecution has sent letters to UNMIK, the International Red Cross and Albania’s state prosecutor in order to check the allegations made in former Chief Hague Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte’s book, “The Hunt”.
Del Ponte, now Switzerland’s ambassador to Argentina, wrote that a Hague prosecution team investigated reports from reliable sources that up to 300 Serbs, kidnapped after the 1999 war, were taken to Albania, where their vital organs were removed and sold in Europe’s black market, while the victims were later killed and buried in mass graves in this country.
Del Ponte wrote the investigation in 2003 was impossible to continue.
Ten people have so far been interviewed in connection to these allegations, the Prosecution said, and added that another report – that the UN mission in Kosovo, UNMIK, halted the investigation into the organ trafficking – is also investigated. For this reason, a request has been sent to UNMIK.
Information is also sought from the International Red Cross regarding the existence of such prisoner camps in Albania in 1999, and on whether operations of the sort were likely to have been performed there.
“We have sent a letter to the Albanian prosecution, in line with a memorandum signed in 2005 with all regional countries, Albanian included. This memorandum enables us to ask, via the Ministry of Justice, that certain actions pertaining to the investigation be performed,” spokesman Bruno Vekarić said.
“This is what we have requested, that Del Ponte’s claims about the yellow house be checked, whether it was there, and what might have been happening inside, but also all the other relevant information related to this case,” he added.
The Prosecution is also analyzing the Haradinja verdict, and will coordinate all information sent to the Tribunal with the National Hague Cooperation Council and the Ministry of Justice.
Haradinaj was declared innocent by the UN war crimes court of charges that included murder, rape, torture and kidnapping of Kosovo’s Serbs, Romas, and Albanians in 1998.
But Serbia has issued an arrest warrant for the former Kosovo premier, suspecting him of war crimes committed in the province in 1999.
“The most serious crimes happened in the vicinity of the villages of Glođeni, Dečani and near Đakovica. One draws particular attention. 13 persons were kidnapped, 10 of them murdered in June 1999. At that time, KLA units under Haradinaj’s command were killing Roma babies in the territory of Kosovo and Metohija. He is directly responsible, and there is evidence for this,” Vekarić said.
During the Haradinaj trial at the Hague, nine prosecution witnesses were murdered, three of whom had the status of protected witnesses.
The Prosecution has information that the witness killed last year in Podgorica, Montenegro, was assigned a security officer from Sarajevo with whom he was not in contact for over two years.
The victim, the daily Blic reported, was a witness to Haradinaj’s crimes, and the crimes committed by those under his command.