PRISTINA – Plans are underway for a European Union-backed special tribunal to try Kosovo Albanian former guerrillas accused of harvesting organs from murdered Serbs during the Balkan country’s 1998-99 war, officials say.
The move stems from a 2011 report by Council of Europe rapporteur Dick Marty alleging that guerrillas fighting a war of independence from Serbia had smuggled Serb victims into northern Albania, where they removed their organs for sale on the black market.
Kosovo’s government, led by former guerrilla commander Hashim Thaci, has angrily rejected the accusations. He has painted them as an attempt to tarnish the reputation of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) rebels, who won NATO air support in 1999 to drive out Serbian forces.
Efforts to investigate alleged war crimes committed by the guerrillas have run up against widespread intimidation in a small country where clan loyalties run deep and KLA rebels are revered as heroes. Many entered government after the war, leading Kosovo to independence in 2008.