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AS/Jur (2010) 46 [provisional version]
12 December 2010
Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights
Inhuman treatment of people and illicit trafficking in human
organs in Kosovo*1
Rapporteur: Mr Dick Marty, Switzerland, Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
A. Draft resolution
1. The Parliamentary Assembly was extremely concerned to learn of the revelations of the former
Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), who alleged that serious
crimes had been committed during the conflict in Kosovo, including trafficking in human organs, crimes which
had gone unpunished hitherto and had not been the subject of any serious investigation.
2. In addition, according to the former Prosecutor, these acts had been committed by members of the
"Kosovo Liberation Army" (KLA) militia against Serbian nationals who had remained in Kosovo at the end of
the armed conflict and been taken prisoner.
3. According to the information gathered by the Assembly and to the criminal investigations now under
way, numerous concrete and convergent indications confirm that some Serbians and some Albanian
Kosovars were held prisoner in secret places of detention under KLA control in northern Albania and were
subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment, before ultimately disappearing.
4. Numerous indications seem to confirm that, during the period immediately after the end of the armed
conflict, before international forces had really been able to take control of the region and re-establish a
semblance of law and order, organs were removed from some prisoners at a clinic in Albanian territory, near
Fushë-Krujë, to be taken abroad for transplantation.
5. This criminal activity, which developed with the benefit of the chaos prevailing in the region, at the
initiative of certain KLA militia leaders linked to organised crime, has continued, albeit in other forms, until
today, as demonstrated by an investigation being carried out by the European Union Rule of Law Mission in
Kosovo (EULEX) relating to the Medicus clinic in Pristina.
6. Although some concrete evidence of such trafficking already existed at the beginning of the decade,
the international authorities in charge of the region did not consider it necessary to conduct a detailed
examination of these circumstances, or did so incompletely and superficially.
* All reference to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population, in this text shall be understood in
full compliance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 and without prejudice to the status of
1 Draft resolution adopted unanimously by the Committee in Paris on 16 December 2010.
AS/Jur (2010) 46
7. Particularly during the first years of their presence in Kosovo, the international organisations
responsible for security and the rule of law (KFOR and UNMIK) had to cope with major structural problems
and serious shortages of staff with the skills to take on the tasks they were entrusted with, all this being
aggravated by rapid and constant staff rotation.
8. The ICTY, which had started to conduct an initial examination on the spot to establish the existence of
traces of possible organ trafficking, dropped the investigation. The elements of proof taken in Rripe, in
Albania, have been destroyed and cannot therefore be used for more detailed analyses. No subsequent
investigation has been carried out into a case nevertheless considered sufficiently serious by the former
ICTY Prosecutor for her to see the need to bring it to public attention through her book.
9. During the decisive phase of the armed conflict, NATO took action in the form of air strikes, while land
operations were conducted by the KLA, de facto allies of the international forces. Following the departure of
the Serbian authorities, the international bodies responsible for security in Kosovo very much relied on the
political forces in power in Kosovo, most of them former KLA leaders.
10. The international organisations in place in Kosovo favoured a pragmatic political approach, taking the
view that they needed to promote short-term stability at any price, thereby sacrificing some important
principles of justice. For a long time little was done to follow-up evidence implicating KLA members in crimes
against the Serbian population and against certain Albanian Kosovars. Immediately after the conflict ended,
in effect, when the KLA had virtually exclusive control on the ground, many scores were settled between
different factions and against those considered, without any kind of trial, to be traitors because they were
suspected of having collaborated with the Serbian authorities previously in place.
11. EULEX, which took over certain functions in the justice sector previously fulfilled by UN structures
(UNMIK) at the end of 2008, inherited a difficult and sensitive situation, particularly in the sphere of
combating serious crime: incomplete records, lost documents, uncollected witness testimony. Consequently,
a large number of crimes may well continue to go unpunished. Little or no detailed investigation has been
carried out into organised crime and its connections with representatives of political institutions, or in respect
of war crimes committed against Serbians and Albanian Kosovars regarded as collaborators or as rivals of
the dominant factions. This last-named subject is still truly taboo in Kosovo today, although everybody talks
about it in private, very cautiously. EULEX seems very recently to have made some progress in this field,
and it is very much to be hoped that political considerations will not impede this commitment.
12. The team of international prosecutors and investigators within EULEX which is responsible for
investigating allegations of inhuman treatment, including those relating to possible organ trafficking, has
made progress, particularly in respect of proving the existence of secret KLA places of detention in northern
Albania where inhuman treatment and even murders are said to have been committed. The investigation
does not, however, benefit from the desirable co-operation from the Albanian authorities.
13. The appalling crimes committed by Serbian forces, which stirred up very strong feelings worldwide,
gave rise to a mood reflected as well in the attitude of certain international agencies, according to which it
was invariably one side that were regarded as the perpetrators of crimes and the other side as the victims,
thus necessarily innocent. The reality is less clear-cut and more complex.
14. The Parliamentary Assembly strongly reaffirms the need for an absolutely uncompromising fight
against impunity for the perpetrators of serious human rights violations, and wishes to point out that the fact
that these were committed in the context of a violent conflict could never justify a decision to refrain from
prosecuting anyone who has committed such acts (see Resolution 1675 (2009)).
15. There cannot and must not be one justice for the winners and another for the losers. Whenever a
conflict has occurred, all criminals must be prosecuted and held responsible for their illegal acts, whichever
side they belonged to and irrespective of the political role they took on.
16. The question which, from the humanitarian viewpoint, remains the most acute and sensitive is that of
missing persons. Of more than 6,000 disappearances on which the International Committee of the Red
Cross (ICRC) has opened files, approximately 1,400 individuals have been found alive