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Europe

Investigation Launched Into Kosovo Organ Trafficking

Europe's human rights watchdog will investigate allegations that Kosovo rebels were involved in trafficking human organs at the end of the Kosovo War in 1999.

Doctor holds a heart during an organ transplant

Kosovo leaders deny that organ trafficking occurred

The Council of Europe appointed Swiss senator Dick Marty to travel to Kosovo and prepare a report on allegations of illegal organ trafficking.

The charges that Kosovo Albanian rebels had profited from selling human organs of captured Serbians was first brought forward in the book "The Hunt: Me and the War Criminals" by Carla del Ponte, the former chief prosecutor of the war crimes tribunal in the Hague.

Del Ponte's book alleges that as many as 400 victims, most of them Serbs, were subjected to forced organ extraction. Human Rights Watch said it has collaborated del Ponte's allegations.

The Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly decided on Wednesday, June 25, that the claims merit a full investigatation.

Marty, a Swiss lawyer who became famous for investigating CIA rendition flights through Europe, was asked by the 47-nation, pan-European organization to investigate. The council did not say when Marty would travel to the region. He is also undertaking an investigation of human rights in Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan on behalf of the council.

Kosovo denies charges

Albanian Foreign Minister Lulzim Basha has called the allegations "inventions and absurdities."

A senior adviser to Hashim Thaci, Kosovo's prime minister and a leading member of the Kosovo Liberation Army which is accused of benefiting from the trade, denied the allegations after del Ponte's book was published this spring.

"These are horrible things even to imagine," said Bekim Collaku. "But this is a product of (del Ponte's) imagination."

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