EU Prosecutor: Kosovo Organ Probe ‘Will Take Time’


By Fatmir Aliu

A Special Investigative Task Force of the EU mission, EULEX, tasked with investigating the allegations contained in Dick Marty’s report on KLA organ trafficking, has started securing information on the case.

The EULEX lead prosecutor in the case concerning the alleged trafficking of Serb prisoners’ organs by KLA during the 1999 Kosovo war, John Clint Williamson, said the investigation will take time to complete.

The American prosecutor was appointed in August by the EU rule of law mission to manage the Kosovo-EULEX Special Investigative Task Force.

In January the Council of Europe adopted Marty’s report, which implicates high ranking members of the KLA, as well as the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, as being part of a group that committed grave crimes, including the inhuman treatment and killing of prisoners with the purpose of removing and trafficking in human organs.

EULEX launched a preliminary investigation into the allegations immediately after Marty’s report was adopted by the Council of Europe.

In his first visit to Kosovo, Williamson, according to a press release, said that during the initial phase the Task Force had already taken steps to secure information from a number of institutional sources, analyse information, and initiate its own investigative activities.

Referring to the allegations of organised crime and war crimes contained in the Council of Europe report, Williamson said that “this will be a complex investigation and will take time to complete”.

During his visit to Kosovo, the EU lead prosecutor met Kosovo’s President, Deputy Prime Minister and Chief Prosecutor.

According to the press release issued by his team, Williamson saw the discussions as productive, and felt “encouraged by the commitment of Kosovo authorities to cooperate fully with the investigation”.

The Marty report claims that various members of KLA from 1998 to 2000 were involved in organ trading and organized crime, mainly the so-called “Drenica Group”, then led by Thaci. The accusations also implicate four other former senior KLA officials, currently all members of parliament for Thaci’s ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo.

Most of the politicians mentioned in report have condemned the report as essentially a political act, designed to discredit the KLA’s record and damage the image of Kosovo.

Williamson will soon visit Serbia and Albania in order to establish working relationships with the authorities there.

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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