Council of Europe rep Dick Marty said that current EU mission to Kosovo known as EULEX is powerless to investigate Albanian organ trade and urged formation of outside commission to investigate the matter.
Speaking to the Serbian daily Vesti, Marty said that an “An ad hoc judicial structure needs to be created – established specially to investigate the organ trafficking and located outside of Kosovo, which would have the right to apply measures to protect witnesses and their families – just during the process, but afterwards as well”.
The witnesses have so much to say that their lives would not be worth much afterwards if their identities were revealed.
Marty said that witnesses have much to say but if their identities were revealed these witnesses will be killed.
“I do not think EULEX, the way it is forced to operate today and the way it is organized, can conduct a serious investigation. Besides, if we look at the justice systems and the international judiciary in the region, these structures have not been able to protect witnesses. As soon as there is a high level case or a case that touches a certain level in the criminal hierarchy, testimonies become not just difficult, but impossible to obtain,” Marty is quoted as saying.
On Wednesday Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a Resolution on witness protection.
However, Marty warned that some people might be satisfied with simply passing the resolution in hope that nothing will come of it.
“The strong vote of support is an important step, but it is just one stage, which will be irrelevant unless there is a well prepared follow-up, and unless there is a political follow-up. I see this as the main danger,” Marty warned.
Marty also said that the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly has sent an important message by adopting his report on organ trafficking in Kosovo and northern Albania with an overwhelming majority, and that competent institutions now need to act.
The organ trafficking report names current Albanian separatist leader, referred to as prime minister, Hashim Thaci, as the leader of a mafia-type ALbanian crime organization that kidnapped Serbs to extract their organs as well as it engaged in weapons trade, heroin, sex slavery and other organized crime.
Marty said that he pointed to the Drenica Group, led by Thaci, as the main element behind the crimes, because he did not want to criminalize the entire Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).
“The KLA was not a traditional army, it was not homogenous in the traditional sense, it did not have one general at the top and a pyramid hierarchy. It was a collection of different groups with different leaders, which did not necessarily make up a unified structure. Therefore, it is not possible to criminalize the entire KLA, but it is evident that the criminal element took advantage of the military, or if you prefer paramilitary, structure,” Marty said.
Commenting on the resolution on witness protection passed by PACE, Marty said that Jean-Charles Gardetto’s report underlines the fundamental importance of witness protection, not only in Kosovo, but in the entire region.
If justice has not been done, if many people have evaded it, it is because we have not been able to efficiently protect witnesses. Witnesses have been intimidated and murdered, and I find this scandalous, Marty stressed, adding that he does not want to reveal a single piece of information about the witnesses until they are guaranteed full protection.
Marty pointed out that the Council of Europe is a guardian of values and must protect the truth, adding that each of us is, in a way, a guardian of the values and principles outlined in the European Convention on Human Rights.
After kidnapping Serbs, the KLA took them to death camps in Albania where organ extraction and subsequent execution was performed.
At a cabinet session, aired live on several Albanian TV stations, Albania’s Prime Minister Sali Berisha dismissed the fact that organ extraction occurred in death camps in Albania.
“We are open for investigations that could be carried out in the whole of Albania, although I decisively dismiss the possibility of organ trafficking in Albania, especially the possibility of the existence of mass graves in the country,” Berisha said
“One should be completely blind to think that an Albanian family can offer its house so that a murder could be committed there,” Berisha said referring to the so-called “yellow house,” which is mentioned as a place where organ harvesting was performed on the Serbs and Albanians from Kosovo.
Source: SERBIANNA / TANJUG
2008 Kosovo, Human organ harvesting of kidnap victims by Albanian criminals