16 December 2010

Bridge to Hell

Back in 2008, prosecutor for the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Carla Del Ponte, wrote about people having their organs taken. The people were non-Albanians (Kosovan Serbs) who were taken to Albania where they had their organs extracted. As one would imagine, from the wikipedia link,

"The book caused a considerable controversy with Kosovan and Albanian officials denying these allegations and Russian and Serbian officials demanding more investigation."

The story appeared in The Telegraph, Serb prisoners 'were stripped of their organs in Kosovo war'",

"According to the sources, senior figures in the Kosovo Liberation Army were aware of the scheme, in which hundreds of young Serbs were allegedly taken by truck from Kosovo to northern Albania where their organs were removed. Miss Del Ponte provides grim details of the alleged organ harvesting, and of how some prisoners were sewn up after having kidneys removed.

"The victims, deprived of a kidney, were then locked up again, inside the barracks, until the moment they were killed for other vital organs. In this way, the other prisoners were aware of the fate that awaited them, and according to the source, pleaded, terrified, to be killed immediately," Miss Del Ponte writes.

But nothing seemed to happen. The story went quiet.

Now we have a draft report from Dick Marty, rapporteur for the Council of Europe,

"Inhuman treatment of people and illicit trafficking in human organs in Kosovo 12 Dec 2010" [retrieved 16.12.2010],

This report is worth reading in full.

"In concluding, we should once again recall that that this report has been drawn up in the wake of the revelations that appeared in the memoirs of the former Chief Prosecutor of the ICTY. Shocked by those disclosures, the Parliamentary Assembly entrusted us with the task of looking more closely into the allegations and the human rights violations said to have been committed in Kosovo in the material period. The elements reported in the former Prosecutor's book primarily concerned the alleged trafficking of human organs. Our difficult, sensitive investigations enabled us not only to substantiate those elements, but also to shed light on further, related allegations and to draw a very sombre, worrying picture of what took place, and is to some extent continuing to take place, in Kosovo. Our task was not to conduct an criminal investigation -we are not empowered to do so, and above all we lack the necessary resources - let alone to pronounce judgments of guilt or innocence.

176. The information we have gathered nonetheless concerns extremely grave events that took place in the very heart of Europe.

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