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HRW urges probe of Kosovo organ trafficking claims

[JURIST] New information concerning charges that separatist Kosovo Liberation Army [BBC backgrounder] leaders were involved in trafficking organs taken from Serb prisoners during the 1998-1999 war in Kosovo justifies a probe into the allegations, Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] said Monday. HRW urged [press release] Kosovo and Albania to launch an investigation into the allegations, and said that it had sent letters to both Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci and Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha [letters, text] in April but had heard no reply as of May 2.

In April, Serbia announced that it plans to officially request [JURIST report] that the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] resume a probe into the organ trafficking allegations. Former ICTY Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte [JURIST news archive] has alleged in her new book [JURIST report] that approximately 300 Serbian and other non-Albanian prisoners were victims of organ trafficking, but that a 2003 probe by her ICTY team failed to obtain sufficient evidence to prosecute. Kosovo Justice Minister Nekibe Kelmendi has dismissed the allegations as "fabrications." In March, the office of Serbia's war crimes prosecutor [official website] said that it was investigating "informal statements" [JURIST report] received from ICTY investigators alleging illegal organ harvesting. The ICTY has not commented officially on the alleged organ trafficking. AP has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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