Switzerland calls for probe into Kosovo trafficking claims

17th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

Switzerland on Friday called on Kosovo and the international community, including the European Union, to launch a legal probe into allegations of organ trafficking by Albanian independence fighters.

"The Swiss Foreign Ministry calls on the affected countries and particularly Kosovo for clarification on these accusations," said the ministry in a statement.

"The appropriate and international authorities must lead legal steps to assemble potential evidence," it added.

The ministry also called on the EU rule of law mission in Kosovo (EULEX), which includes Swiss experts, and its War Crimes Investigation Unit "to drive investigation" of the issue.

A report by Council of Europe rapporteur Dick Marty -- a former Swiss prosecutor -- released just days after the first general election since Kosovo declared independence in 2008 -- implicated Kosovar Prime Minister Hashim Thaci in organ trafficking.

It said Thaci headed a Kosovo Liberation Army faction which controlled secret detention centres in Albania where the organ trafficking is alleged to have taken place in the aftermath of the 1998-99 war between the guerrillas and Serbian forces.

Thaci has denied the allegations and slammed them as a smear campaign against the KLA.

The Swiss foreign ministry noted that Marty's report contained "grave accusations made on the basis of countless witness accounts and evidence."

Meanwhile, the ministry also said that Swiss President and Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey, who was to receive a award next week from the Kosovo diaspora in Switzerland, has decided not to pick up the award at the moment.

"Given the publication of Marty's report, it is not the right time to pick up this prize," it said.

© 2010 AFP

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