Albania Prosecutor Reacts to Organ Harvesting Report


By Besar Likmeta

“The Albania prosecutors’ office has no evidence to suggest the existence of an organ transplant center in the [town] of Fushe Kruja, or anywhere else in Albania,” the Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement issued on Monday.

“Nor it has ever received information or a request for criminal investigation by an international investigative body,” it adds.

The statement follows the publication of a Council of Europe draft report, which was written by Swiss MP Dick Marty and was approved by the Council of Europe’s Legal and Political Affairs Committee in Paris on Thursday.

The report links a group of former Kosovo Liberation Army fighters, including Kosovo’s current Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, to organised crime and accuses them of harvesting the organs of Serb prisoners and others.

It also criticises Albania for not cooperating in investigating the alleged abuses mentioned in the report. The document echoes allegations published in a book by former UN chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, over a house in the village of Gurre, in northern Albania, where Serb prisoners were allegedly killed for their organs.

In 2004 the ICTY and the local prosecutor’s office probed the claims in a fact-finding mission at the house where the alleged organ harvesting occurred.

“Following a joint investigation with Hague experts, no evidence was found that the allegations were true, so Albania’s prosecutors office found no basis to start a criminal proceeding,” the statement said.

“The Albanian prosecutor’s office, which enjoys the trust of international investigative bodies, a trust strengthened by its professionalism and the level of cooperation, decries as baseless any insinuation that Albania’s institutions have blocked the investigation of this case,” the statement adds.

Balkan Insight

The Balkan Insight (formerly the Balkin Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN) is a close group of editors and trainers that enables journalists in the region to produce in-depth analytical and investigative journalism on complex political, economic and social themes. BIRN emerged from the Balkan programme of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, IWPR, in 2005. The original IWPR Balkans team was mandated to localise that programme and make it sustainable, in light of changing realities in the region and the maturity of the IWPR intervention. Since then, its work in publishing, media training and public debate activities has become synonymous with quality, reliability and impartiality. A fully-independent and local network, it is now developing as an efficient and self-sustainable regional institution to enhance the capacity for journalism that pushes for public debate on European-oriented political and economic reform.

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