From: Alice Taylor
Albanian Government Preparing Resolution on Yellow House Report Author, Dick Marty

The Albanian government has annouced it is preparing a resolution against a 2010 report by Dick Marty that accused Kosovo’s former president Hashim Thaci of war crimes, that will be submitted to the Council of Europe.

The news came following a joint meeting on Monday between Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and his Kosovo counterpart Albin Kurti in Prishtina.

Marty was a Swiss rapporteur for the international human rights body who authored a 2010 report accusing Kosovo’s leaders of war crimes and organ trafficking. The report played a direct role in the arrest of Thaci who is currently in custody and undergoing trial at The Hague.

The special tribunal at The Hague was set up to try war crimes from the Kosovo-Serbia war, yet despite numerous massacres of Ethnic Albanians at the hands of Serbian troops, only Albanians have been charged and tried so far.

Rama said a resolution will be prepared by parliament and handed personally to the CoE after the summer.

“I will personally go to Strasbourg, in the first case, I hope in September to address the Council of Europe for a fact that is becoming more and more worrying. It is the total unfoundedness of Dick Marty’s report and the Russian influence on this tale of a Yellow House of organ trafficking,” Rama said.

Last week Rama visited Thaci in prison as well as visiting his family in the village of Buroje in Kosovo.

Thaci was the political director of the Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, and became the president of Kosovo in the post-war period.

This is the first time Rama has publicly hinted that Russia could be behind the proceedings at The Hague. He said that despite other proceedings ongoing, there is not one indictment regarding Yellow House or organ trafficking.

“How can it be explained that the tale of organ trafficking is used by the Russians in other cases as well”, said Rama.

Yellow House

In 2010 Carla del Ponte, a former Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia alleged that serious crimes had taken place during the Kosovo war. She detailed these in a book and following its publication, the Council of Europe opened an investigation into the allegations, appointing Swiss prosecutor Dick Mary.

The allegations included trafficking in human organs. She claimed that they were committed by members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) against Serbian nationals who remained in Kosovo at the end of the war.

“According to the information gathered by the Assembly and to the criminal investigations now underway, numerous concrete and convergent indications confirm that some Serbians and some Albanian Kosovars were held prisoner in secret places of detention under KLA control in northern Albania and were subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment, before ultimately disappearing, the Report noted.

It alleges that prisoners were taken by truck into Albania to a clinic near Fushe-Kruje where they had organs removed.

A 2008 letter from Human Rights Watch sent to then Prime Minister Sali Berisha said:

“According to Del Ponte, the Tribunal received information from credible sources that Kosovo Albanians transported by truck between 100 and 300 persons from Kosovo into northern Albania after June 12, 1999. The individuals were then reportedly held in warehouses and other buildings, including facilities in Kukës and Tropoje. Some of the younger, healthier captives were allegedly fed, examined by doctors, and never beaten. According to the information provided to Del Ponte, these abducted individuals were later transferred to a facility in or around Burrel, where doctors extracted the captives’ internal organs. These organs were then transported out of Albania via Rinas airport near Tirana, now Mother Theresa airport.”

It’s alleged that bodies are buried near what was, at that time, a “yellow house”. Tribunal investigators claimed they found the house and medical equipment with traces of blood. This was evidence that some medical procedures took place, but it could not be established whether the allegations of organ harvesting were legitimate.

It was also established that captives were brought into Albania, but again, the rest of the claims cannot be confirmed.

Human Rights Watch noted they had not investigated any of the allegations, that evidence was “circumstantial” yet compelling, and that a full investigation should be carried out

Albanian authorities refused exhumations or investigations, saying there  was no war in Albania and therefore, no graves. The government did not conduct any investigation nor collaborate in any international investigation within the country. Del Ponte claims the smuggling was carried out with the cooperation of the Albanian secret service.

Albania and Kosovo have long maintained that the Yellow House allegations are false.

Dick Marty

Meanwhile, Marty has reported that Serbian intelligence tried to kill him and planned to blame it on Kosovo in an effort to sow regional discord. Serbia has denied such claims.

Serbia Denies Plot to Kill Dick Marty