SERBIA TO PROBE CLAIMS OF KOSOVO REBEL ARMY
TRAFFICKING ORGANS OF ABDUCTED SERBS
BBC Monitoring International Reports - March 26, 2008 Wednesday
Belgrade, Pristina, 26 March: A request has been filed with the War Crimes Court in Belgrade to investigate KLA [Kosovo Liberation Army; UCK in Albanian] activities in 1999.
It was recently revealed that in her book, to be published in Italy, former Chief Hague Tribunal Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte describes a failed investigation into reports that the Kosovo Albanian armed group known as the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, after the end of the 1999 war, kidnapped some 300 local Serbs to transfer them to Albania, where their organs were removed before they were killed.
A judge with the court will act on this request, it was announced today, to interview a number of persons and acquire necessary documents, "should they be available".
Last week, War Crimes Prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic confirmed that a file was opened with his office to look into the fate of the kidnapped Kosovo Serbs.
Vukcevic says the probe is based on "informal information obtained from the Hague tribunal investigators".
The same sources said there are unmarked mass graves in neighbouring Albania, containing the bodies of the Serb victims.
Meantime in Pristina, UNMIK spokesman Alexander Ivanko Wednesday rejected new claims related to the case, this time coming from Florence Hartmann, a former spokeswoman for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), known as the Hague tribunal.
Hartmann said that UNMIK "did not want to cooperate with Del Ponte" in the case of the trafficking of organs extracted from the Serbs kidnapped in Kosovo.
"We reject this, because we have always cooperated with the ICTY," Ivanko told Tanjug news agency.
He underscored that "Hartmann was voicing the opinion of the former chief prosecutor, not the Tribunal itself", and recalled that its "judges reiterated a number of times that UNMIK was fully cooperating with the Tribunal".
In an interview to Frankfurt's Serbian-language daily Vesti, Hartmann said that Del Ponte "tried to wrestle information on the trade of organs of people who were kidnapped in Kosovo from UNMIK", but that the UN mission in Kosovo "did not want to give information".
Hartmann added that Del Ponte protested several times to the UN Security Council over UNMIK's insufficient cooperation.
Source: Radio B92 text website, Belgrade, in
English 1759 gmt 26 Mar 08
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