Gruesome Kosovo 'organ harvesting' revealed

2012-09-11 12:05

Belgrade - A former Kosovo rebel witness described in an interview how he removed a prisoner's heart for the black market in organs during the 1990s Kosovo conflict, Serbian RTS state television reported.

The interview was broadcast on Monday a day after Serbia's war crimes prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic said his office had a witness who "testified about a medical procedure, done in northern Albania, that consisted of harvesting organs from Serbs kidnapped during the 1998-99 conflict in Kosovo".

"They gave me a scalpel. I put my left hand on his chest and began cutting. When I got near the bottom [of the ribs], the blood started pouring," the witness, whose face was not shown and whose voice was distorted, told RTS.

"As soon as I started cutting, he began screaming not to kill him and then he lost consciousness. I don't know if he fainted or died," he said, apparently speaking in Albanian with his words subtitled in Serbian.

Claims of organ harvesting by the former rebel Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) during and after the conflict are being investigated by the EU-named US prosecutor John Clint Williamson and Belgrade said he was informed about this witness.

Council of Europe rapporteur Dick Marty alleged in a hard-hitting 2010 report that senior KLA commanders - including current Kosovo prime minister Hashim Thaci - were involved in illegal organ trafficking.


The report said that organs were taken from the bodies of prisoners, many of them Serbs, held by the KLA in Albania at the time.

Thaci as well as Albania have denied the accusations and condemned Marty's report, as well as Sunday's revealing of the witness and his claims.

The witness, with only his hands and torso visible, explained in detail how he had been trained by "doctors" to harvest a heart from a prisoner at an undisclosed location.

"He [a doctor] told me what should I do on the body... to make a cut from a throat to the end of ribs," the witness described the impromptu training organised several days before the surgery.

The ethnicity of the patient was not revealed in the interview, but Vukcevic said the victim was a Serb prisoner, while the operation had been carried out near the northern Albanian town of Kukes.

The victim, a man in his twenties, was tied to tables in a school classroom by four rebels.

Cooling box

"When I came closer he was trying to get away but they tied him more. He began crying, begging, 'God, do not slaughter me, do not kill me!'" the witness said.

Dressed in a black long-sleeve T-shirt, the man explained the procedure in details, saying that the two doctors had also been present at the scene, with a cooling box prepared for transport of organs.

"When I finished the first cut, I was told to make another one, a cross section... The third line [was done by] the doctor himself seeing that my hand was shaking. He told me not to worry," the witness said.

As another doctor had forgotten the scissors, the witness proposed to make them from a "bayonet" of a Kalashnikov and was told "where to cut the ribs" with a warning "not to damage something, meaning, the heart".

A doctor "put both his hands into the body, pulled and opened it" while another man had brought the cooling box. As they had no "pegs for vessels to prevent bleeding ... we had to take a nylon, like a fishing one, to tie twice on each cut".

"We cut veins and when I took the heart, it was still beating... I put it in the box" for transport, he said.

Medicus affair

It was then taken to the airport in Albania's capital Tirana, where the rebels, including the witness, were met by several Albanian army officials.

The box was given to a "foreigner" coming out from a "small private plane" with a Turkish flag, the witness said.

The wartime organ harvesting case is believed to be linked to the so-called Medicus affair, another case of organ trafficking at a hospital in Kosovo's main city Pristina.

Seven people, mostly doctors, are on trial before an EU-run court there on charges of illegally transplanting organs at the Medicus Clinic.

The case came to light in 2008 after police opened an investigation into the collapse of a young Turk at the Pristina airport following a kidney donation to an Israeli man.

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-09-11 12:56

    I am delighted to read about the mess Kosovo has made for itself. Now all those Western politicians who insisted on its secession from Serbia should now hang their heads in shame. Kosovo is a classic example of where Western liberal governments get themselves involved with centuries old problems that they do not and cannot understand.

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-09-11 13:34

      Yip , stopping mass murders was a bad thing to do , again another display of complete disregard for human life based on superstitous, historical squabbles . Look at Rwanda where the hands-off approach was used , problem is definitely solved after a genocide.

      Mark - 2012-09-11 14:16

      Isn't it ironic that fidel.mgoqi uses a tool of the so called 'evil west' to post his venomous comments online.

  • christo.stone - 2012-09-11 12:57

    Bloody hell...Its frightening to hear about things like this. So brutal. And yet some people don't think humans are animals... All in the name of greed...horrible.

  • brady.tu.5 - 2012-09-12 01:55

    The Serbs murdered and raped many thousands of innocent children who had cried everyday for the Serbs to stop killing their family members, but did they stop - NO! During these wars by the Serbs, the Serbs were showing anything on their T.V about the crimes their army was doing in these countries. In fact, during these wars, Serbian T.V was showing propaganda movies, comparing Bill Clinton to Hitler, yet they did not realize they have a Hitler of their own in Slobodan M. As far as Kosovo goes, Kosovo had no choice, did you not see what the Serbs did in Croatia, Bosnia and finally in Kosovo? The crimes committed by the Serbs were real - rape, torturer and murder of many Muslim innocent children. The international community saw what occurred in other places and did not want that to continue in Kosovo. The Serbs are upset with Kosovo because Kosovo fought back with NATO, they took the pains of war right to the front steps of Belgrade- they gave them a taste of the real pain that they caused in previous years to others. Kosovo had no choice but to brake free, you can't expect someone to stay in an abusive relationship. The international court ruled 10-4 in favor of the Kosovo independence.

  • brady.tu.5 - 2012-09-12 01:58

    This site is BIAS! Because they deleted my comments earlier...I'm guessing they are on the side of the war criminals - Serbs!

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