Politician angers MEPs over Kosovo organ harvesting claim

 

A BAD-TEMPERED meeting of the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee focusing on the alleged harvesting of organs of Serbian prisoners by the Kosovan army during the conflict there in 1999 took place in Strasbourg yesterday.

Last December, Swiss politician Dick Marty presented a report to the Council of Europe which suggested there was substance to long-standing allegations of trafficking in the organs of 300 Serbian prisoners by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).

His report links the Kosovan prime minister and former KLA political leader Hashim Thaçi to the illegal harvesting.

The reports first surfaced in 2002 but senior sources in Eulex, the EU mission in Kosovo, believe they are without foundation and say an investigation it carried out 2004 found nothing to suggest harvesting had ever taken place.

Yesterday, Mr Marty gave a presentation to the parliament’s foreign affairs committee.

Journalists were excluded from the meeting, but afterwards MEPs said Mr Marty had failed to provide any evidence concerning the allegations and claimed he had accused MEPs who were critical of his report of bias.

“The problem was that he presented his report in a sharp way and then we put questions to him in a similarly sharp way and he started to attack us,” German MEP Bernd Posselt told The Irish Times. “He has to give answers and not to attack the people who put questions to him.”

Mr Posselt dismissed the report as “not serious”. He said he wanted to “hear serious fact and not polemic and all we got today was polemic and opinions”.

German MEP Doris Pack said, “His reaction was very offensive.” She said that “at least 90 per cent” of MEPs who had questioned Mr Marty had been very critical of the report. “At the end he was so furious he attacked all of us and accused us of being partial because we know these people [in the Kosovan government] . . . Of course I know these people. I have been working in the region for 24 years.” She said he had not provided the names of witnesses, victims or the organs which were allegedly harvested.

When approached by this newspaper, Mr Marty declined to comment on the contents of the report or the outcome of the hearing. It is understood he told the hearing a witness protection programme was needed in Kosovo before he could provide more details on witnesses to the alleged trafficking as their lives were in danger.