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Calls for inquiry

February 17, 2011

Serbia says the United Nations should look into allegations that Kosovo's prime minister was part of an organ trafficking network during the Kosovo War in the late 1990s.

Kosovo's Prime Minister
Kosovo's prime minister is accused of organ traffickingImage: dpa

Speaking at the United Nations on Wednesday, Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic called on the international body to look into allegations that the Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci was behind the trafficking in organs from ethnic Serbs in 1999 and 2000. A report by Dick Marty of the Council of Europe human rights watchdog made the original accusation that senior commanders of the former ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army, including Thaci, were the masterminds of and organ trafficking network.

A tank in the Kosovo War
The reports says the trafficking took place during and after the Kosovo WarImage: AP

Jeremic described Marty's report as "deeply disturbing" and said that the European Union mission EULEX currently looking into the issue was not enough because the allegations involved locations outside of Europe such as Asia and Africa.

"The solution lies in establishing an ad hoc investigating mechanism created by - and accountable to - the Security Council," he said.

US envoy Rosemary DiCarlo said the EULEX investigation was sufficient. "We do not believe that an ad hoc UN mechanism is necessary or appropriate," she said. Britain and Germany also denied the need for UN involvement, while Jeremic received support from long-time ally Russia.

Three years of independence

Thursday marks the third anniversary of Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia. Despite Belgrade's fierce opposition, it has been recognized by 75 countries, including the US and all but five EU members. Russia continues to oppose its independence.

Thaci was elected in December in Kosovo's first elections since declaring independence and has rejected the accusations against him.

A NATO bombing campaign drove Serb forces out of Kosovo in 1999, putting an end to the killing of ethnic Albanians in a two-year counter-insurgency war. The UN passed administration duties on to EULEX in December 2008, which now enforces the rule of law and supervises Kosovo's police, customs and judiciary.

Author: Holly Fox (AFP, Reuters)
Editor: Nancy Isenson