European envoy to testify in Kosovo organ case: court
(PRISTINA) - Judges in a landmark trial of alleged organ trafficking in a Pristina clinic will call Council of Europe envoy Dick Marty as a witness, they said Wednesday.
An EU-dominated panel of judges trying the case said it would "allow the statement" of Dick Marty -- the Council of Europe's rapporteur on alleged organ trafficking during the 1998-99 Kosovo war -- at the trial of seven people accused of organ trafficking and illegal transplants at the Medicus clinic.
According to the indictment, the clinic carried out at least 30 illegal kidney removals and transplants in 2008, using donors from poor Eastern European and Central Asian countries, who were promised about 15,000 euros ($19,750) each.
"Dick Marty claims he has some important information on this issue so we will ask him what sort of information he has and what the sources of this information are," presiding judge Arkadiusz Sedek from Poland said.
In his report on the wartime abuses Marty alleged that senior commanders of the ethnic Albanian guerrilla Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), including current prime minister Hashim Thaci, had been involved in organised crime and organ trafficking during and after the war.
The report set out claims that organs were taken from prisoners, many of them Serbs, held by the independence-seeking KLA rebels in Albania in the late 1990s.
Both Kosovo and Albania denied the accusations and rejected the report.
The panel decided to summon Marty as a witness after special EU prosecutor Jonathan Ratel asked in March that the former Swiss senator testify before the court.
Ratel said he had "every reason to believe that he (Marty) retains in his possession the evidence relevant for this case."
In his report, adopted by the Council in Europe in 2011, Marty said he had found "credible, convergent indications" that the wartime organ trafficking "is closely related to the contemporary case" of the Medicus clinic.
But he refrained from publishing his findings "out of respect for the ongoing investigation and judical proceedings," being led by the EU rule of law mission in Kosovo (EULEX).
On Wednesday, Ratel insisted that the court summon to Marty "includes all the evidence in his possession that is relevant to this case."
Seven suspects led by former Kosovo health secretary Ilir Rrecaj and Lutfi Dervishi, a prominent Pristina urologist, are on trial in Pristina accused of taking part in an illegal organ trafficking network.
The clinic was raided by police in 2008 when a Turkish man collapsed at Pristina airport waiting for a flight back to Istanbul after donating a kidney.
Other suspects in the case include Turkish doctor Yusuf Sonmez, accused of having carried out illegal operations to remove organs, and Moshe Harel, an Israeli suspected of recruiting and bringing the victims to Kosovo.
They are both indicted also in Turkey.
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