Kosovo official indicted for organ trafficking


A European Union prosecutor has named seven suspects in connection with an international organ trafficking network, BETA, EURACTIV's partner in Serbia, reported today (12 November). According to press reports, at least one of them held a high position in Kosovo's health ministry.

According to EULEX, the EU's law enforcement mission in Kosovo, an organised criminal group has been trafficking people into Kosovo for the purpose of using their organs for transplants to other people.

The indictment was presented to the district court in Pristina, Karin Limdal, senior spokesperson for EULEX, confirmed to EURACTIV.

Asked if the uncovered case was related to alleged organ theft by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) during the Kosovo war, Limdal did not comment (see 'Background').

She explained that judges are expected to confirm the indictment by the end of the month. This indictment would then be read out in court and subsequently become public. Limdal said she would provide no further details until this happens.

However, some details have been quoted by the local press and taken up by news agencies. Reportedly, victims were recruited in other countries such as Moldova, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Russia and then transported and received at Pristina Airport through the false promise of payments for the removal of their kidneys.

Reportedly among those indicted is Ilir Rrecaj, a former senior health ministry official. Apparently, all the indicted individuals are at large.

Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) guerillas allegedly killed Serbs for organ trafficking or organ theft during and after the 1999 Kosovo war.

Carla Del Ponte, former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), wrote in an April 2008 book that she had received information stating that around 300 non-Albanians were kidnapped and transferred to Albania in 1999 where their organs were then extracted.

However, no evidence has so far been found to back up this claim.

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