Kosovo organ trafficking resolution adopted

STRASBOURG -- The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) today in Strasbourg voted to adopt a resolution based on the Marty report.

Dick Marty (Beta)
Dick Marty (Beta)

169 PACE members voted in favor, while 8 voted against the document. The resolution calls on the international community and governments in Belgrade, Priština, as well as in Albania, to "undertake measures" in order to clear up the crimes.

Earlier on Tuesday, the assembly voted on amendments submitted to the draft, accepting two proposed by Dick Marty, and rejecting "most others filed by Albanian members, attempting to water down the document", Beta news agency reports.

Those adopted are amendments 7 and 21, which seek to make relative allegations from a paragraph describing criminal activities organized by parts of the former KLA, connected to organized crime, and to change the title of the document into, "Investigation into inhuman treatment of people and illicit trafficking in human organs in Kosovo".

CoE Rapporteur Dick Marty published his report detailing allegations about disappearances of Serb and other civilians in Kosovo and trade in their organs in Kosovo, and northern Albania.

The so-called Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), i.e., it's Drenica Group, led by now Kosovo Albanian PM Hashim Thaci was named in the report.

The Serbian delegation said ahead of the session today that it would work to have all amendments submitted by opponents of the resolution rejected, said delegation chief Dragoljub Mićunović. The amendments will seek to "diminish the importance" of the document, according to him.

On the other hand, Albanians from Albania and Macedonia, and from Kosovo, called on Monday for a mobilization and creation of a joint front against Dick Marty, rejecting all the accusations from his report.

Serbian President Boris Tadić will address the assembly on Wednesday.

The debate

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) rapporteur Dick Marty and all of the PACE parliametary groups called on Tuesday for a full and impartial investigation regarding Marty's report on organ trafficking in Kosovo and Albania.

There can be no justice without truth, Marty stated presenting the report to the assembly, and added that it is up to PACE to demand that truth.

Respect for human rights is not a topic for negotiations, and if links between organized crime and political circles are tolerated, then the democratic future of the entire Europe is at risk, Marty stressed.

The report is not biased towards Serbs or Albanians, it is a report on human rights, he continued.

The names in the document are the same as those recorded by intelligence services and anlysts, and the victims include both Serbs and Kosovo Albanians who were seen as traitors by the Kosovo Liberation Army, Marty remarked.

He confirmed that he had found credible witnesses who had nothing to do with Serbia, but were firghtened and did not trust the justice system in Kosovo.

The situation with witness protection is scandalous, said Marty.

Socialist representative Klaas de Vries stated that the search for truth and justice was everyone's duty.

He called for an impartial and objective investigation about the claims made in the report and asked that it be supported and witnesses provided protection.

Conservative representative Amber Rudd noted that the report was not about politics, but about the victims, and that it highlighted the connections between organized crime and politics that had resulted from the war in Kosovo.

Marieluise Beck, who spoke for the Liberals, said it was important not to take advantage of the report in order to contest Kosovo's independence.

That is not the issue, she stressed. The crucial question is whether the chaos of war gave birth to a system that merges organized crime and politics, which is why an inquiry is needed, Beck explained.

United European Left representative Tiny Kox praised the report, stressing that divisions into winners and losers lead to injustice. Marty has shown that the situation is a lot more complex, he argued.

A member of the Albanian delegation, however, called on PACE to adopt proposed amendments. Ilir Rusmali said that they would render the Marty resolution "more balanced and based on facts". He said that Albania supported an investigation into the organ trafficking allegation, and asserted his country had done so before, "my maximally cooperating with the Hague Tribunal and EULEX".

Proposed amendments

A total of 21 amendments have been submitted to the text of the draft resolution - two by Dick Marty himself, and 19 in a joint effort of PACE members from Albania, Turkey, Georgia and Macedonia.

Marty proposed inclusion of a paragraph that would seek a clarification of the powers of EULEX or another international judicial body that will be given the mandate to monitor investigations, so that their territorial and temporal jurisdiction is recognized when it comes to all crimes related to the Kosovo conflict.

The second amendment filed by Marty seeks a change to the paragraph that defines what is expected from "the Albanian authorities and administration", to instead call on them to cooperate with EULEX and offer unconditional support to investigations into prisoner camps in northern Albania.

At the same time, the administration of Kosovo would be called on to unconditionally cooperate with EULEX or other international body given a mandate to investigate the crimes in question, according to the amendment.

As for the opponents of the report, their amendments mostly seek to delete concrete statements from the text, such as the mention of a clinic in Albanian territory near the town of Fushe Kruje, as well as the word "evidence", or claims that there was evidence about the crimes.

These amendments also wish to have removed those parts of the draft resolution that state there was insufficient cooperation in war crimes investigation from the authorities of Albania, and also those in Kosovo.

Another amendment calls parts of the draft to be removed which state that, over a long period of time, little had been done to collect evidence about the crimes committed by the KLA against Serbs and some Albanians, the latter falling victim because they were considers collaborators, or were "rivals of dominant groups".