Skip to comments.HRW finds reports of abductions of Serbs from Kosovo credible.
Posted on 05/05/2008 4:40:27 PM PDT by dschapin
Kosovo/Albania: Investigate Postwar Abductions, Transfers to Albania
Official Dismissals Premature
(New York, May 5, 2008) Additional information has emerged that bolsters allegations of abductions and cross-border transfers from Kosovo to Albania after the 1998-1999 Kosovo war, Human Rights Watch said today. The Kosovar and Albanian governments should open independent and transparent investigations to help resolve the fate of approximately 400 Serbs who went missing after the war.
"Serious and credible allegations have emerged about horrible abuses in Kosovo and Albania after the war," said Fred Abrahams, senior emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch, who investigated human rights violations in Kosovo and Albania for the organization from 1993-2000. "The Prishtina and Tirana governments can show their commitment to justice and the rule of law by conducting proper investigations."
The allegations became public recently in a new book by Carla Del Ponte, former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Human Rights Watch has obtained independent information and documentation that provides credibility and corroboration of much of what Del Ponte writes about postwar abuses in Kosovo. Del Pontes Italian-language book is titled The Hunt: War Criminals and Me.
Human Rights Watch wrote letters to Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci and Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha on April 4 to request that they open investigations into the allegations, but by May 2 neither government had replied, Human Rights Watch said. Top officials in both places publicly rejected the claims as unsubstantiated and libelous.
According to Del Ponte, the ICTY received information from credible journalists in 2003 that individuals in Kosovo had abducted and transported between 100 and 300 persons from Kosovo into northern Albania after June 12, 1999, when NATO forces entered Kosovo. The information was consistent with and corroborated what the tribunal had developed in house.
Human Rights Watch viewed the information the ICTY obtained from the journalists and considers it well researched and credible: seven ethnic Albanians who served in the Kosovo Liberation Army, interviewed separately, gave details about participating in or witnessing the transfer of abducted Serbs and others prisoners from Kosovo into Albania after the war.
According to the journalists information, the abducted individuals were held in warehouses and other buildings, including facilities in Kukes and Tropoje. In comparison to other captives, some of the sources said, some of the younger, healthier detainees were fed, examined by doctors, and never beaten. These abducted individuals an unknown number were allegedly transferred to a yellow house in or around the Albanian town of Burrel, where doctors extracted the captives internal organs. These organs were then transported out of Albania via the airport near the capital Tirana. Most of the alleged victims were Serbs who went missing after the arrival of UN and NATO forces in Kosovo. But other captives were women from Kosovo, Albania, Russia, and other Slavic countries.
The information on organ trafficking is suggestive but far from complete, said Abrahams. But the fact remains that hundreds of people, most of them Serbs, are reported to have gone missing after the war. The Kosovo and Albanian governments should try to determine the fates of these people by launching serious investigations with adequate witness protection.
According to the information obtained by the ICTY, the bodies of some of the abducted individuals were buried near the yellow house and a nearby graveyard about 20 kilometers south of Burrel. Investigators from the tribunal and the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), accompanied by an Albanian prosecutor, inspected the house in February 2004. The house had been painted white but, in a photo of the investigation site viewed by Human Rights Watch, a yellow strip was visible at the houses base.
According to Del Ponte, near the house investigators found medical equipment used in surgery syringes, gauze, drip bags, and medicine vials for muscle relaxant often used in surgery. Using a chemical spray, the team found evidence of significant blood stains on the walls and floor of one room, except for a clear six-foot by two-foot rectangle on the floor.
Human Rights Watch spoke separately with two people who were present during the visit of the ICTY and UNMIK investigators to the house near Burrel. Both people corroborated the story as told in Del Pontes book.
Human Rights Watch also obtained a copy of UNMIKs official report from the February 4-5, 2004 investigation, titled Forensic Examination and Assessment in Albania, which largely corroborates Del Pontes claims. The chemical spray called Luminol, the report says, revealed traces of blood in two rooms, including one spot at a right angle on the floor, which would indicate that there may have been by [sic] a rectangular item covering this area. In a stream bed next to the house, investigators found an empty intravenous bag, syringes, and empty bottles of medicine, which they collected as evidence.
A tribunal spokeswoman confirmed on April 16 that ICTY and UNMIK investigators had looked into the allegations and visited the house near Burrel, but that they could not substantiate the allegations and had no further basis on which to proceed in relation to [the tribunals] jurisdiction. In response to a question, the spokeswoman said the investigators found no reliable evidence to substantiate the allegations.
Collecting reliable evidence to launch a criminal prosecution and collecting evidence that adds weight to assertions are two different things, and the evidence found near Burrel clearly adds weight to the assertions, Abrahams said. The tribunal mandate also only covers crimes committed during the armed conflict, which ended on June 12, 1999. The alleged kidnappings and other crimes took place after that date, so that was a further obstacle to pursuing an investigation.
Last week, Albanian Foreign Minister Lulzim Basha dismissed Del Pontes allegations as immoral and libelous.
Minister Basha should take the allegations more seriously because he knows from his own experience that there is credible evidence of cross-border transfers, Abrahams said. He worked for the tribunal and the Justice Department at UNMIK after the war, and personally investigated reports of detention facilities in northern Albania.
Human Rights Watch said it had not conducted its own investigation into the reports, beyond viewing the material presented to the ICTY, obtaining the UNMIK investigation report and speaking with two people who were present during the investigation in Burrel. But it noted the large number of persons missing from the Kosovo war Albanians, Serbs, and other ethnic groups.
According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, 1,613 persons from Kosovo are still reported missing and 350 are reported dead, but their bodies have not yet been found and identified. The organization gives no ethnic breakdown. According to the Association of Families of Kidnapped and Missing Persons in Kosovo and Metohija, 533 Serbs from Kosovo remain missing, 430 of whom disappeared after June 10, 1999.
Human Rights Watch also urged the Serbian government to help solve the fate of the roughly 1,500 missing ethnic Albanians from the war. Human Rights Watch has documented the removal of ethnic Albanian bodies from 10 places in Kosovo in 1999. Hundreds were reburied in mass graves inside Serbia, including on a base used by the special police.
The Serbian government is rightfully complaining about the reported abductions and transfers of Serbs to Albania, Abrahams said. But it has also failed to cooperate enough to shed light on the even larger number of Kosovo Albanians missing from the war.
Here is an article that I think you and the rest of the Balkan ping group would find interesting. Apperantly, HRW is now publically coming out and saying that the reports of abductions of serbs from Kosovo are credible and need to be investigated more thouroughly.
We can begin the countdown until one of our pro-Jihadist cheerleaders comes in crying that this could not have happened and it would have all been the fault of the Serbs if it ever did happen.
I wonder how many of the missing Albanians were carved up by the KLA thugs?
The Clinton Legacy lives on. (Those Republicans voting for Hillary in primaries should note what their future fate may be.)
Nice. Well, you post so many great articles that its fun to beat you to the punch once in a while :-)
“The Clinton Legacy lives on. (Those Republicans voting for Hillary in primaries should note what their future fate may be.)”
Interesting take on the situation since it is the present administration which played midwife to the the birth of the little Kosovo terror statelet and now finances it with hundreds of millions of our money. The Kosovo Mohammedans, for their part have financed McCain’s campaigns to the tune of millions of dollars. McCain is right up there with Clinton and Bush as favorites of the Kosovo Mohammedan terrorists. Indeed, the Kosovo Albanians have publicly stated that it was McCain who made it possible for them to obtain the arms they used to commit terrorism against the Christians in Kosovo.
The situation in Kosovo certainly arose out of the Clinton cabal’s totally unprovoked attack on Serbia. But since 2001, the Bush Administration and men like McCain bear complete responsibility for our policy there.
Hmmm, no comment from Hillbama or MacWhackJob???
I wonder how many late empire Romans knew their world was in decline even as it was happening?
What I love is the Albanians saying, "Who us? No, this is just too fantastic to even bother with! It's all Serbian propaganda or del Ponte's bad dream, blah, blah, blah". Then, when you do a little homework, you find lots stories like these on Albanian organ trafficking that aren't about Serbs, and it doesn't seem so "fantastic" at all:
POLARIS PROJECT: POLICE ARREST (Albanian) CHILD TRAFFICKERS
RADIO FREE EUROPE: THE PROBLEM OF ORGAN TRAFFICKING
Let’s see if anyone denounces HRW for being a Soros op on this thread....or is that reserved only for when HRW accuses the Serbs of doing something bad?
HRW is still a Soros operation but Soros cannot be accused of being biased in favor of the Serbs since his past record with the Serbs is quite clear. So, the fact that HRW has historically been biased against the Serbs actually makes their opinion that atrocities were committed against the Serbs more credible here.
Hoppy, still in denial about your heroes?
Even the corrupt “Human Rightser Watch” has to admit that their Muhammadan Gheg “darlings” have been caught being the degenerate savages that they truly are!!!! All the globalist “human rightsers” should have egg on their faces, for helping to make things like this happen.
The Kosovo Albanian KLA leadership is much too primitive and criminal to run a state. Everyone who has knowledge of Kosovo and its environs, including the biggest backers of “Kosovo independence” in the clinton and Bush administrations, knows that. So do McCain and Hillbama. But keeping Bondsteel, appeasing the muslims, and weakening Serbia and Russia, are considered more important. More’s the pity!!!!
There's a quote for every Ustashe poster to gag on! LOL!!!
Every time we pray for “captives and their salvation” in the Divine Liturgy, I think of the Serbs kidnapped in Kosovo, and cross myself. Lord have mercy!
I disagree. All Soros ops are the same and the intention is to smear all opponents for their agenda. With this bit of propaganda, they want to have something on the Albanians to use later.
The reason that I don’t believe that I am being hypocritical in posting this article is that it goes against the leftwing bias that HRW often has. Let me give an example from another context to illustrate what I mean. If Al Gore were to write an article admitting that a new scientiffic study made very credible and persuasive argumentst AGAINST global warming we post his admission all over the net. In doing this we would not be hypocritical or admitting that Al Gore is less biased then we thought. Instead, it is Al Gore’s extreme bias in favor of Global Warming that would make any admissions that he made AGAINST global warming so very persuasive.
You are equating anti-Serb sentiment with left-wing bias and that is hardly the case. Separatists who fought the Serbs are not leftists but rather nationalists. The very lies that were perfected against the Serbs are now being thrown around at other nationalists who broke away from Serb domination. This article you posted does not in any way deviate from Human Rights Watch’s perpetual left-wing bias.