Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama in Brussels in June. Photo: EPA-EFE/STEPHANIE LECOCQ.

Albanian PM Slams Kosovo Organ-Trafficking ‘Fabrications’

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama demanded a review of a 2011 Council of Europe report that accused senior Kosovo Liberation Army guerrillas of war crimes, insisting that allegations of organ-trafficking were fabricated.

In a speech to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on Wednesday, Albanian premier Edi Rama said that Swiss senator Dick Marty’s 2011 report for the Council of Europe, which made war crimes allegations against Kosovo Liberation Army officers, should be reviewed as “an issue of truth and justice”.

Rama said the report’s suggestion raised false suspicions that human organs were trafficked by senior KLA figures, and that the subsequent indictments of former KLA officers confirm that the claims were untrue.

“There is not a single word that clearly or implicitly mentions the issue of human organ-trafficking. It is an issue that does not exist and that is the reason I am here today,” he said.

He explained that the reason why Albania is reacting now to the 2011 report is because it was waiting for the formulation of the charges by the Kosovo Specialist Chambers war crimes court in The Hague.

“And that’s the reason I wasn’t here a year ago, or the year before that. Because we waited patiently to see if something would come out,” he added.

He described the organ-trafficking claims as a “fantasy fabricated in the Kremlin and in a very, very intelligent way, trafficked and smuggled into the channels of international politics and brought here to the temple of human rights”.

The Albanian parliament in July adopted a resolution proposed by Rama’s ruling Socialist Party condemning Swiss senator Marty’s 2011 report for the Council of Europe and describing its claims as unfounded.

The resolution was submitted to Council of Europe on August 12.

Marty’s claims were probed by a European Union investigative task force. The task force’s report found there were grounds for war crimes charges, although it could not substantiate the organ-trafficking claims. Its findings led to the establishment of the Kosovo Specialist Chambers in The Hague in 2015 to try former guerrillas for war crimes.

The first trial of a wartime KLA guerrilla at the Kosovo Specialist Chambers began in 2021. Kosovo’s ex-President Hashim Thaci is currently awaiting trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The Specialist Chambers are part of Kosovo’s judicial system but located in the Netherlands and staffed by internationals. They were set up under pressure from Kosovo’s Western allies, who feared that Kosovo’s justice system was not robust enough to try KLA cases and protect witnesses from interference.

But the so-called ‘special court’ is deeply resented by many Kosovo Albanians, who see it as an insult to the KLA’s war for liberation from Serbian rule.

12/10/2022 - 17:55

12 October 2022 - 17:55

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