Report: Kosovo crime ring executed prisoners, harvested their organs

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

According to a draft report from the Council of Europe, a criminal network in Kosovo executed prisoners and sold their organs on the black market within the past decade. The network is linked to Kosovo’s current prime minister and victims likely included Kosovo Serb civilians. We learned about the story through Michael Montgomery and Altin Raxhimi of the Center for Investigative Reporting.

The report alleges the organ trafficking was part of a broader web of organized criminal activity including assassinations and drug dealing. The “boss” of the criminal network, according to the report, was Hashim Thaci, Kosovo’s current prime minister and the former political director of the Kosovo Liberation Army.

The recent case of illegal transplants conducted at the Medicus clinic in Pristina is not an isolated episode. “We believe that there are sufficiently serious and substantial indications to demonstrate that this form of trafficking long pre-dates the Medicus case, and that certain KLA leaders and affiliates have been implicated in it previously,” the report states.

According to a former U.N. war crimes prosecutor interviewed by CIR, an international investigation will be needed because of the breadth and complexity of the case.

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For more European health news, see AHCJ’s Covering Europe initiative.

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