PRISTINA - Between 1999 and 2001, Kosovo's Liberation army, the KLA, possibly used Serbian war prisoners' organs to supply illegal organ trafficking on a massive and international scale, under the eyes and maybe even with the collaboration of the international community present in the country.
In December 2010, a report presented to the Council of Europe by Swiss deputy Dick Marty broke the taboo, causing a monumental polemic. Hundreds of Serbian prisoners might have been deported in secret horror detention camps in Albania: captured, tortured and then killed, the organs of the prisoners were then sold for large sums of money on the black market.
The issue was first recovered by former ICTY Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, and gained more attention through a few articles on the 10th anniversary of the war in Kosovo. While the more narrow focus was the gruesome allegations on organ harvesting, the wider issue was about the human rights record of the KLA, which some were willing to look back into.
Until Marty's report, the international community had never acknowledgded this clandestine organ trafficking, officially in the name of the preservation of official stability in the country. In January 2012, a Special Investigative Force, part of the Eulex mission, was set up. Run by an American investigator with experience in war crimes, the investigation will present its conclusions in 2014, when Eulex is set to leave Kosovo.
Is this post-war organ trafficking merely the tip of the iceberg? To what extent does the EU have a responsibility in the scandal? What were the first results of the Special Investigative Task Force mission? What are difficulties faced by the families' victims in Kosovo?
Prune Antoine and Monika Stefanek investigated the Eulex mission in Kosovo and the way they are dealing with a scandal that had been swept under the rug for a long time. The investigation was published in 12 chapters on CafeBabel.fr.
Prune Antoine received the Prix Louise Weiss for her work on the project.
'Zabici dla organów( (pdf)' (PL - 'Killed for organs') (Wprost, 23 June 2013)
- 'Verborgene Leichen im Land der schwarzen Amseln' (DE) (Cafébabel, 9 September 2014)
- 'An Exquisite Corpse In The Land Of Blackbirds' (Cafébabel, 26 August 2014)
- 'De waarheid achter de Kosovaarse orgaanhandel' (NL) (MO*, 4 August 2014)
- 'Cadavre exquis au pays des merles noirs' (FR) (Cafébabel, 31 July 2014)
- 'Cadavre exquis au pays des merles noirs' (FR) (Creatavist, 30 July 2014)
- 'Mord ohne Leichen' (DE) (Tages Woche, 8 April 2013)
- 'Verbrechen ohne Leichen' (DE) (Ostpol, 5 April 2013)
need resources for your own investigative story?
Journalismfund Europe's flexible grants programmes enable journalists to produce relevant public interest stories with a European mind-set from international, national, and regional perspectives.
support independent cross-border investigative journalism
We rely on your support to continue the work that we do. Make a gift of any amount today.