See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Kosovo, Serbia: Kosovo's PM Accused of Human Organ Trade

THE YELLOW HOUSE

Do you know what the “Yellow House” is? Have you ever heard about it?

The same year Kosovo declared independence, 2008, Carla Del Ponte, a former prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, published (in Serbia) her controversial book “The hunt: me and war criminals,” in which she described in detail how and where some soldiers and leaders of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) committed terrible war crimes against ethnic Serbs, non-Albanians and “non-loyal” citizens of Kosovo in 1999.

According to Del Ponte, the “Yellow House” was a little apartment house in Ripe, a village near the town of Burelj in north Albania, where body parts of prisoners of war were being removed in order to be sold on black markets all over the world.

Many from the region, who then heard about the human organ trade for the first time, were shocked. The book and the information from it caused a lot of different reactions in Serbia.

Below is a selection of comments to an article on this issue that appeared on pressonline.rs on March 22, 2008.

Laza:

It’s terrible what happened and what is happening now, I believe there is much truth in the book. […] Is it possible that nothing was known about it, about the crimes, sufferings, mass graves? […]

Miki:

Surely. Ethnic Albanians did not do it, but their mentors from the West did.

Blek:

Only you, Serbs, have parents, brothers, sisters. Other people who were killed by you didn’t have anyone. How many organs did you sell when you committed the biggest crime after WWII in Bosnia and Herzegovina? […] Srebrenica.

zoran (Bec):

Reading different forums about this monstrous massacre against the kidnapped Serbs, as a man and as a Christian, I find everyone who committed the crime repulsive, those who knew about it but were silent, and who have recently heard about it but tolerate it. […]

Kosovo’s officials denied there had been human organs trafficking in Kosovo. Writing about the issue, the Guardian emphasized that some members of the international community had the same opinion, quoting a statement of Bernar Kouchner, the French foreign minister and former head of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, who said this during his visit to the Serb enclave of Gracanica earlier this year:

there was no yellow house, there was no organ trade. People who talk about things like that are bums and murderers.

DICK MARTY’S REPORT

Just two days after the general elections were held in Kosovo on Dec. 12, Hashim Thaci, the outgoing Prime Minister whose Democratic Party of Kosovo won the most votes on Sunday’s elections, was accused by Dick Marty, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly investigator, of organizing and committing the mentioned war crimes.

According to Marty’s report, which the Guardian published exclusively before its official presentation, Thaci, who is also the former head of KLA's “Drenica group,” is allegedly responsible for the kidnapping of more than 300 ethnic Serbs and others from Kosovo during the war, their transportation and murder in Albania, where their organs were extracted and later sold to rich patients in the West.

Below are some of the reader comments to a B92 article about Marty's report:

Polako, ali sigurno, pravda stize do cilja! writes:

[…] If it is proved that you are the culprits, and it will be so, you don’t need to be afraid of Serbs but of your own people who brought you to power.

Skorpion:

As an ethnic Albanian, I am happy that, God willing, all who committed the crimes are convicted. I hate them all and I don’t want to hear about them.

Ode sve u:

bbc, foxnews, reuters, the mirror, the independent, huffington post, the new york times… the whole Western world published the news… the dregs of society have the power in one country/territory in the heart of Europe.

Majna:

[…] CNN is silent, and it’s clear that a question will now be raised of who and why recognized the country that was built on the most monstrous crime in the history of the world.

Writing about the issue in her post titled “Trading organs and principles” (on the blog page of the daily newspaper “Blic”), Jelena Milic pointed out the double standards in Serbia’s official policy in regard to human rights, an obsolete policy that considers human rights a problem of individual states and not of international relations:

[…] Dick Marty’s report, which has linked Thaci to organs trade, has just been adopted in the committee for legal questions of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly. It’s very important news in Serbia. For a reason. But. Serbia's [foreign minister] Vuk Jeremic has a shameful record of not voting for and supporting resolutions and declarations which the EU and the Council of Europe adopted and submitted to the General Assembly of the United Nations in regard to the human rights situation in Iran and other countries that do not recognize Kosovo's independence […]

The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton's Spokeswoman Maja Kocijančić has urged Marty to come forward with the evidence on Thaci’s involvement in these serious crimes. She said at a press conference:

“These claims are taken very seriously. If concrete evidence exists, we urge Dick Marty to submit it to the relevant authorities.

However, she avoided answering a number of direct questions on the EU's next steps regarding the issue.

Hashim Thaci rejected all accusations and demanded from the EU to investigate this case thoroughly.

Start the conversation

Authors, please log in »

Guidelines

  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site