ISSN 2330-717X

Kosovo’s ‘Kidney’ Cartel – OpEd

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By Timur Blokhin

The case of the Medicus clinic can add a dark spot on the reputation of the leadership of Kosovo, a country not recognized by Russia. In that clinic a group of doctors managed by a highly ranking Ministry of Health official conducted illegal organ transplantation surgeries. There are a number of Russian citizens among the victims.

In 2008 the ‘black transplantology surgeons’ allured Serbians, Turks, Belorussians and Russian citizens as well as people of other nationalities by promising them to pay up to 15 thousand euro per kidney. As a result over 30 such ‘donors’ were cheated: they either received a lot less or nothing at all. Meanwhile the entrepreneurial doctors received about 100 thousand euro profit on each successful surgery.

Here is one example described by the Serbian press. A student from Belorussia named A.K. in his Internet search for ways to make money ran into a web site specializing in transplant organ supply. He sent a letter by e-mail and shortly received an offer of 10 thousand euro for his kidney.

In Kosovo his kidney was transplanted to an American, but he received only 8 thousand euro. Then he was offered to start a ‘marketing network’. The Belorussian was told that the rest of the money he would receive when back at home he finds more potential organ donors. A.K. was to ‘additionally’ receive 500 dollars from each surgery. In the end the student did not find any willing donors, nor did he himself fully recover from the surgery.

The Medicus case process started in October 2011 under the auspices of the EU Mission in Kosovo (EULEX). The severeness of the potential punishment for the process participants is demostrated by the fact that the Turkish Prosecutor has requested a 171 year sentense for Turkey’s citizen – surgeon Yusuf Sonmez. It is believed that this person nicknamed ‘Doctor Frankenstein’ conducted 11 illegal organ removal surgeries.

The “Medicus Case” can potentially be directly traced to the events of the end of 1990s. In her book “The Hunt: Me and the war criminals” Carla Del Ponte, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia tells about 300 non-Albanians kidnapped in Kosovo in 1999. The victims were transferred to a special “yellow house” in Northern Albania where their kidneys and other vital organs were surgically removed.

Carla Del Ponte states that all this activity was known to the leaders of the terrorist organization the “Kosovo Liberation Army”, one of those leaders is the current prime minister of Kosovo Hashim Thaci.

Thaci’s name as well as the Medicus clinic are both mentioned in the famous report on organ-trafficking prepared for PACE by Swiss diplomat Dick Marti. The Russian diplomatic community tends to believe that “most likely the same network was active in Kosovo. And if we trust the information provided by Del Ponte and Marti it was with the consent of Kosovo’s top officials”.

Nevertheless, the key issue remains whether the EU Mission is capable of conducting an objective investigation of the cases of “black transplantology” in Kosovo. One can assume that the Medicus case would become a showcase process that in no way would affect the “honour” of Kosovo’s top officials.

“Many proofs have already been hidden, many witnesses have died of natural causes or were killed. Some people who have something to say are afraid to testify. It would be difficult to conduct a fair and objective process. First of all the issue of the protection of witnesses has to be a priority. Here we are talking about a case against a mafia cartel that is running Kosovo and that has Washington’s support”, Serbian politician Branco Radun talked about the potential obtacles in the investigation process.

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VOR

VOR, or the Voice of Russia, was the Russian government's international radio broadcasting service from 1993 until 2014, when it was reorganised as Radio Sputnik.

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