On 2 February The Hague Tribunal chief prosecutor’s office stated that valuable evidence about removal of organs of Serbs captured in Kosovo was destroyed during the term of former prosecutor Carla Del Ponte. The case concerns war crimes committed in Kosovo and northern Albania in 1999 and 2000, when Serb and other civilians are believed to have been kidnapped for their body parts by ethnic Albanian KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army). The Hague Tribunal chief prosecutor’s office added that the pieces of evidence were destroyed with approval of Del Ponte’s prosecution.
On 16 December 2010 the Human Rights Committee of the Council of Europe (CoE) adopted a report presented by Council of Europe Special Rapporteur Dick Marty, who has spent the past two years investigating allegations involving, among other things, the trafficking of human organs, also known as the Yellow House case. In this report allegations were made that abductions, disappearances, executions, organ trafficking and other serious crimes were coordinated by leading members of the KLA, among them current Prime Minister Thaci. After the report the European Union started an investigation into the allegations.
Brammertz’s office claims that some pieces of evidence were destroyed in 2005 when Del Ponte was the chief prosecutor, that she knew about it and that the decision was made by then members of the prosecution. “Prosecutor Brammertz agrees that this was not a good decision. However, we cannot speak publicly about the internal decision making procedure in the prosecution,” Brammertz’s office released. Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor Vladimir Vukčević said that his office had asked the Hague investigator why the evidence had been destroyed and that they said that “the evidence, along with material evidence from Srebrenica, was destroyed as a part of a regular procedure”.
‘NATO thwarted organ trade investigation’
Del Ponte has stated that NATO thwarted the investigation into the human organ trafficking in Kosovo. According to Del Ponte the international community had to react after the report by Dick Marty, but the real truth about these allegations could only be revealed in an UN-led probe. She added that there was a lack of political will to resolve this case because the situation in Kosovo was still very fragile.
When asked whether she feels responsible for the destruction of evidence from Yellow house late in 2005, Del Ponte said that this was a big mistake, and that it was done without previous consultations with her. ‘I was really shocked when I learned from the media that the evidence was destroyed. However, I do not feel responsible as I was not authorized to lead the investigation’, the former prosecutor said. Del Ponte said that she knows who ordered the destruction of evidence as she was in constant contact with her successor Serge Brammertz, but that this information should be now searched in the office of the Hague Tribunal chief prosecutor. When asked about the fact that she had an insight into the UNMIK confidential report on crimes in the Yellow house back in 2004 but the investigation was suspended, Del Ponte said that the prosecution was not able to continue the probe due to numerous obstacles.
Sources: B92, EuropeanForum, Tanjug, Wikipedia
Image: Flickr by Abode of Chaos