Russia backs Serbia's bid for organ trafficking probe

19th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russia on Tuesday lent its full support to Serbia's plan to seek a UN Security Council mandate for an international probe into alleged Kosovo organ trafficking.

"We will fully support Serbia's initiative" to be mandated by the Security Counticl to conduct an independent international probe, visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters after meeting his Serbian counterpart Vuk Jeremic.

A Council of Europe report alleged in December that Kosovo prime minister Hashim Thaci and other senior commanders of ethnic Albanian guerrillas were involved in organised crime and organ trafficking during and after the 1998-99 war with Serbia.

According to the report a group of guerrilla leaders set up prison camps in neighbouring Albania where mainly Serb prisoners were killed and their organs harvested for sale on the black market.

Thaci has denied the allegations, calling them a smear campaign against the guerrillas and himself.

The claims are being investigated by the European Union rule of law mission in Kosovo (EULEX), but Belgrade has no faith in that probe, arguing that EULEX does not have a mandate to investigate outside of Kosovo.

Jeremic said Belgrade would officially ask the UN Security Council to mandate an independent international investigation, as it did for all war crime investigations in the former Yugoslavia.

"Since Serbia is not a Security Council member, we will fully rely on Russia to get the proposal considered," Jeremic said, adding: "I hope there will be an agreement in the Security Council."

© 2011 AFP

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