EU Prosecutor Investigates Alleged Organ Harvesting in Kosovo

Posted October 19th, 2011 at 4:30 pm (UTC-5)
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A special European Union prosecutor is in Kosovo to investigate reports that ethnic Albanian fighters harvested and sold organs taken from Serb captives in 1999 during their war with Serbia.

John Clint Williamson of the United States is in Pristina after being appointed by the EU to look into allegations in a Council of Europe report that Kosovo Liberation Army fighters loyal to current Prime Minister Hashim Thaci were involved in organ trafficking.

The investigation is still in its preliminary stages, with Williamson having introductory meetings. His spokesman says it is too early to put a time frame on the investigation.

The allegations surfaced several years ago that prisoners of war had been shipped to Northern Albania where the organ harvesting and trafficking took place. Kosovo's government has strongly denied the reports and has said it will cooperate with the investigation.

Serbia lost control of Kosovo in 1999, following a NATO bombing campaign that forced Serb forces from the area, ending its war against separatist ethnic Albanians.

Kosovo declared its independence in 2008 and many countries including the United States and many in the EU have recognized it. However, about 40,000 Serbs still living in northern Kosovo, and making up the majority in a number of towns, say they will never recognize the authority of the government in Pristina.