Switzerland takes hard line on Kosovo organ-trafficking


Switzerland on Friday (17 December) 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," the ministry said in a statement, quoted by AFP.

"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) and its War Crimes Investigation Unit "to drive investigation" into the issue.

In a separate development, Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey has reportedly decided not to receive an award given by the Kosovo Embassy and members of the Kosovo diaspora, for her contribution to the recognition of Kosovo's independence.

The award ceremony was planned to be held tomorrow (21 December) for her contribution to the recognition of Kosovo's independence.

A report by Council of Europe rapporteur Dick Marty, a former Swiss prosecutor, implicated Kosovar Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi in organ trafficking (see Background). The report was released just days after the first general election held in Kosovo since the country declared independence in 2008.

The website of the Swiss daily 24 heures on Sunday quoted Mary saying that Thaçi has been prohibited from entering Switzerland "for a certain period of time".

Christa Markwalder, a Swiss Liberal politician and president of the Parliament’s foreign affairs committee, called for investigating allegations that sums originating from organ trafficking in Kosovo and Albania had been deposited in Swiss bank accounts.

In the presence of Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey, the Swiss parliament’s Foreign affairs committee is expected to debate the accusations against Hashim Thaçi on 11 and 12 January.

A Council of Europe draft report alleging that Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi is a Mafia-style boss spelled out a truth that diplomats privately acknowledge: the West in Kosovo has favoured stability over justice.

The author of the draft report is Dick Marty, a Swiss Liberal Democrat, who gained notoriety as Council of Europe rapporteur on US rendition flights and secret prisons, including in Europe.

Marty's report said Thaçi served as a mafia-like crime boss during the war, leading a group that committed assassinations, beatings, trafficking in organs and drugs and other crimes. Reportedly, the organ-trafficking ring operated also in Albania, when forced removal of organs was taking place.

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