New allegations in organ trafficking case

BELGRADE, TIRANA -- As the Albanian prosecutor rejects a request to investigate organ trafficking, B92 reveals new information related to the case.

The authorities in Tirana will not allow Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor Vladimir Vukčević to carry out an investigation into the existence of a clinic in the Albanian village of Gur, near Matia, where members of the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) allegedly brought the Kosovo Serbs they had kidnapped, and where they removed their vital organs, the media in Tirana reported.

Albanian Chief Prosecutor Ina Rama rejected Serbia's demand to examine the accusations Karla Del Ponte had put forward in her book, the media said, according to Tanjug.

The refusal to allow an investigation into the issue was also confirmed by the Albanian Prosecution's statement for the media on Monday, which was issued immediately after Rama's meeting with Vukčević and his associates in Tirana.

This news came as B92 TV prepares to air its exclusive program dedicated to the case this evening at 21:00 CET.

A B92 Investigates team has exclusively been searching in Albania for places where the organs of people from Kosovo were allegedly traded.

The Serbian prosecution wanted its Albanian counterparts to allow them access to witnesses and to lists of names of doctors and medical personnel from Kosovo that worked in Albania.

The B92 team filmed exclusive footage in northern Albania, where, according to former Hague Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, abducted Kosovo Serbs and other non-Albanians had their vital organs harvested for re-sale on the black market after the war in Kosovo in 1999.

The War Crimes Prosecution is also looking into the allegations. It was of vital importance for the prosecution to travel to Albania in order to carry out an inquest and reconstructions, and to take DNA for analysis.

No indictments have yet been raised.

“It’s too early for you to be asking me that, it’s not easy to raise an indictment. It has to be justified. I told you that in my opinion this is a case of international organized crime,” said War Crimes Prosecutor Vladimir Vukčević.

Although Del Ponte identified the “yellow house” as the possible site of the organ extractions, the B92 team exclusively understands that the domestic prosecution has new information that surgical operations were carried out in a psychiatric hospital at Prison no.320, about 20km from the “yellow house”.

The “yellow house” allegedly served for convalescence and temporary accommodation for prisoners.

Meanwhile, a Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) training center was situated in Burrel.

The "yellow house's" occupants initially claimed that the house was never yellow, but that Del Ponte thought the whole thing up while, in the meantime, dishing up in public another version of the truth.

“I’m telling you that it was only in 2001 that we painted it white, and only one strip on the ground level, one meter high, was yellow. I’m telling you how it was, if you don’t want me to, then leave! I’m telling you when and the reasons why! We had a wedding, we painted the house white, and at the bottom we left a yellow strip,” said Dashuri Katuqi, the granddaughter of the house’s owner.

Hague investigators, checking on the allegations of their sources, found blood stains on the floor and walls of one of the rooms in the “yellow house”.

The residents initially denied the existence of any bloodstains, before, later, offering a variety of explanations.

The owner, Abdulah Katuqi, claims that two children were born in the room in question. The housemates claim that the births took place in 1990 or 1991. The blood was found in 2004.

They also said that the room contained the blood of animals that they had “slaughtered outside, and had cut the meat up inside.”

The B92 team also saw documentation that reveals Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha, under pressure from KLA leader and former Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, ordered the security forces to destroy all documentation that had any connection with the disappearance of Serbs from Kosovo, their transportation to Albania and organ harvesting.

The documents B92 saw also suggest that there are witnesses who could confirm that Haradinaj organized the transfer of Serbs from Kosovo to Albania when the 1999 war was over. The Serbs are said to have been imprisoned in an abandoned mine in Krum, near the border with Albania.

The B92 team obtained this information from the sources located in Belgrade, while according to statements from people they spoke to, this is not an issue discussed publicly in Albania.

Still, Albanian publicist and dissident Fatos Lubonja says he believes it is important for an investigation to be conducted.

"It matters not only for international justice, not only for the Serbs, it matters also for the Kosovo Albanians who have such leaders. If these leaders are criminals, if they face accusations of being criminals, they cannot create a democratic order," Lubonja said.

Meanwhile, Verica Tomanović of the Association of the Families of the Missing Kosovo Serbs says that while this NGO knew that people were transferred from Kosovo to Albania, and that illegal prisons existed there, concrete data and lists of the victims were never revealed.

"When we talk about executions of non-Albanians in northern Albania, that was not done by Albanian citizens, but by KLA members. And that is the essence," Serbian War Crimes Prosecution spokesman Bruno Vekarić says.