Friday, August 7, 2009

Albania refuses "foreign investigations"

7 August 2009 10:20 -> 17:04 Source: FoNet, Beta, Tanjug

TIRANA, BELGRADE -- Officials in Albania have told Council of Europe's Dick Marty that "there can be no organ trade probe based on accusations of Carla Del Ponte or Belgrade".The CoE rapporteur has been appointed to investigate allegations that first appeared in the former chief Hague prosecutor's book, and were later probed by the Serbian War Crimes Prosecution.

The prosecution believes that in 1999, hundreds of Kosovo Serb civilians were kidnapped in the province by the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and taken to northern Albania where their organs were removed before they were killed. "Only the Albanian prosecution has a right to carry out an investigation in the territory of Albania," Albanian Minister of Justice Enkeled Alibeaj told Marty, according to an RTV 21 report.

According to the same television, the rapporteur replied, "I refuse to believe that it is true, but I would like that issue investigated". The same source says that the Albanian minister then said that he refuses to answer the request from the Serbian Ministry of Justice, "because it is about untrue pretensions for which there is no proof". Alibeaj also told the Swiss CoE official that "no foreign citizen can conduct procedural investigative actions in the Albanian territory."

"An investigation can be launched only by the Albanian prosecution based on requests coming from other countries. In that case the prosecution undertakes all actions to clear up the issue." According to the television, a similar conversation took place when Marty met with Interior Minister Bujar Nisani and representatives of Albania's state prosecution. Alibeaj also said that Albanian institutions' official position related to the investigation was expressed in the Albanian state prosecution's replay to the Serbian request in October 2008. Meanwhile in Priština, the Kosovo Council for Protection of Human Rights has asked the Kosovo Albanian government in that town to file a lawsuit against Del Ponte.

The council says that the former chief Hague Tribunal prosecutor "launched lies" in her book "The Hunt", published last year, "in which KLA was accused of kidnapping Serbs and trading in their organs in Kosovo and northern Albania". "No surprise"Labor Minister Rasim Ljajić, who heads Serbia's National Council for Cooperation with the Hague, said on Friday that he is not surprised at the fact that the Albanian authorities have declined to cooperate with Council of Europe (CoE) rapporteur Dick Marty.

"Unfortunately, that is nothing new, I can say that the reaction was expected, because other international officials also met with a similar response. There was no cooperation at all from the Albanian side, from the Albanian judiciary or the Albanian authorities," Ljajić told reporters. "I can only imagine how the international community would have reacted if such a reaction had come from the Serbian side," Ljajić said.

Serbia is suffering much damage because it has not completed its cooperation with the Hague Tribunal, he said, and yet this is a matter of an investigation by an international organization that speaks in very precise terms about 400 bodies transferred from Kosovo and Metohija to the territory of Albania. "The international community is not reacting, nor is anyone from the Albanian side expressing readiness to take part in the investigation on that issue," Ljajić concluded.

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