Organ trafficking prosecutor says his work was impartial

A cloud of doubt surrounding the crimes in Kosovo will only be cleared after court proceedings are complete, says John Clint Williamson.

Source: Tanjug
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The U.S. prosecutor headed an EU team that looked into the war crimes committed by the ethnic Albanian KLA against Serbs in Kosovo.

Williamson spoke for Tanjug on Saturday, the last day of his term in office as the chief prosecutor for the EULEX Special Investigative Task Force (SITF). For more than three years, Williamson investigated the allegations of crimes against civilians committed after the conflict in Kosovo, contained in the report by Council of Europe (CoE) rapporteur Dick Marty.

"I think we have done much to shed light on the allegations in the Marty Report, and that our investigation was successful, but the court should have the final say, "

He informed the public about the results of the investigation at a press conference in Brussels last month, and stated that sufficient evidence was found to indict several commanders of the former (paramilitary ethnic Albanians' Kosovo Liberation Army) KLA for ethnic cleansing and systematic terror acts against the Serb, Roma and other minorities in 1999 and 2000.

The names of the indictees, however, will not be made public until a specialist court is in place. The court will formally be a part of the Kosovo legal system but the judges sitting on the court will be international and it will be set up outside the territory of Kosovo, most likely in the Netherlands.

Commenting on the most controversial part of the Marty Report, related to the organ harvesting from kidnapped civilians in the 'Yellow House' in Albania, Williamson says that he personally believes that such crimes occurred but that no evidence was found that would stand in court.

The SITF prosecutor underlined that his team comprised individuals from 20 different countries, in order to avoid any manipulation, and that they were entirely impartial in their work.

I do not know what gave the impression that there were numerous cases of organ harvesting, when Dick Marty himself claimed there were only several, he said.

When asked why at the time when the KLA was kidnapping and murdering Serbs, Roma and 'disloyal' Albanians across Kosovo, the international community did nothing to prevent or at least investigate the crimes, despite the strong presence of NATO, UNMIK and ICTY investigators, Williamson replied that such were the circumstances at the time.

As far as the ICTY is concerned, it did not have the mandate to investigate crimes that occurred after June 1999, explained Williamson, who worked at the ICTY from 1996 to 2001, investigating the case against Slobodan Milošević.

At that time, it was not possible to send investigators to Serbia to interview the witnesses, he said, pointing to the very good cooperation with the Serbian authorities and Serbia's War Crimes Prosecutor Vladimir Vukčević in his latest investigation.

Although Williamson will not be the chief prosecutor for SITF as of Saturday, his team of investigators led by acting chief prosecutor Kwai Hong Ip, will continue to gather evidence until a specialist court is set up.

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