News / Europe

Kosovo PM Named in Human Organ Scandal

Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci makes his first public appearance since he was allegedly accused in Council of Europe investigator Dick Marty's report for organ trafficking in Pristina on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010. Marty rocked Kosovo with his allegation
Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci makes his first public appearance since he was allegedly accused in Council of Europe investigator Dick Marty's report for organ trafficking in Pristina on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010. Marty rocked Kosovo with his allegation

Multimedia

Henry Ridgwell

In a political bombshell for the Balkans, Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci has been named in a European report as the head of a 'mafia-like' crime organization - accused of drug dealing, assassinations and organ smuggling. The allegations threaten to derail Kosovo's efforts to gain fully-recognized independence and could have a major impact on the country's relations with the West.  

The report claims that at remote bases like this so-called 'Yellow House' in Albania, members of the Kosovo Liberation Army killed up to 500 prisoners and removed their organs, so they could be sold to international buyers on the black market.

The report's author, Council Of Europe Rapporteur Dick Marty, says the crimes were covered up after the Kosovo war. "It was known by numerous people who privately would tell you: 'well yes, we know but for reasons of political opportunity we have decided or we feel we have the duty to keep quiet'," he said.

The report even names Kosovo's Prime Minister, Hashim Thaci, as the head of the criminal gang that profited from the organ trade and that also carried out assassinations and drug trafficking. Thaci's party is still celebrating its win in Sunday's election. He says the claims are an attempt to slander the country's leaders.

"The scandalous report of the member of the European Council parliamentary assembly, Dick Marty, is a document filled with slanders and lies, which recycles 15 years old propaganda," he said.

Serbia has welcomed the Council of Europe report.  Serb forces withdrew from Kosovo after a NATO bombing campaign in 1999.  Seventy-two countries have since recognised Kosovo's independence, although Serbia still disputes the claim.

James Ker-Lindsay of the London School of Economics has written a book on Kosovo's efforts to gain independence.  He says the accusations have the potential to derail that progress.

"I think that this is going to make it a lot more difficult for supporters of Kosovo's independence to gain more recognitions.  And also we have questions about political dialogue with Belgrade.  The Serbian government has said it's still interested in talking, but if these allegations are investigated and there's a case to answer, I think it's going to be very difficult for the Serbian government to continue talking with Thaci," he said.

The report claims that criminal gangs continued to harvest organs after the war at this clinic near Pristina. And in fact, in a currently-ongoing court case, seven people are on trial for trading in the organs of people living in extreme poverty.  Prosecutors claim poor people from Moldova, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkey were offered up to $20,000 for their organs, but were never paid.

Surgeon Lutfi Dervishi is alleged to be the ringleader of the group.  The Council of Europe report also links him to the Kosovo Liberation Army's alleged kidnapping and killing of Serb civilians for their organs. He denies the charges.

The prosecutor in the current case,  Jonathan Ratel, says there are good reasons why Kosovo appears to be a hub for the illegal organ trade. "Post-conflict states, where clinics can be set up quickly, the rule of law or the legal regime or the health regime is weak, and persons can exploit that. The opportunity for exploitation of persons by trafficking is immense," he said.

The Council of Europe has tabled the report for discussion next month and will decide then whether to launch a criminal investigation into the allegations against Prime Minister Thaci.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid