Kosovo: NATO’s First “Success Story”
ADN Kronos International
May 24, 2012
Kosovo: Corruption, joblessness considered biggest problems
Pristina: Corruption and unemployment are the biggest problems in Kosovo, a survey by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) published on Thursday showed.
According to the survey, the most corrupt institutions in Kosovo were the privatization agency, Kosovo Energy Corporation, courts and hospitals. The UNDP said public satisfaction with the work of government, president, prime minister and parliament speaker was declining.
Four years after declaration of independence, unemployment rate ranged between forty and sixty per cent and about 30 per cent of Kosovo’s 1.7 million population lived below poverty line, statistics showed.
Most of the people surveyed were unhappy with current economic and social situation and over 80 per cent held the government of prime minister Hashim Thaci responsible, the survey showed.
ADN Kronos International
May 25, 2012
Kosovo: Israeli arrested for organ trafficking
Pristina: Moshe Harel, an Israeli, suspected of illegal organs trafficking, has been arrested in his home country, special European Union prosecutor in Kosovo Jonathan Ratel said on Friday.
“We have been informed that Moshe Harel was arrested in Israel for organs trafficking and other criminal acts in connection with it and are we now waiting for the confirmation from Israeli authorities,” Ratel told media.
Harel was arrested in Pristina in 2008 on suspicion that he organized an international ring for illegal organs transplants in a clinic in Pristina.
But he fled the country and Kosovo authorities had issued a warrant for his arrest.
Harel, along with Turkish doctor Yusuf Sonmz, the clinic’s owner Lutfi Dervishi and several others have been indicted for illegal organs trafficking and the trial is currently going on in Pristina.
The charges have been sought by the European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX), which was deployed in Kosovo in 2008, to help local authorities in police and legal matters after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia.
Sonmez was arrested in Istanbul last October and the arrest of Harel, who is believed to have masterminded the whole operation, could mark a turning point in the trial. According to the indictment, about thirty illegal transplants were carried out in the “Medicus” clinic for which Harel provided clients and donors.
Donors were promised to be paid 15,000 euros for donating kidneys, while clients were paying up to 100,000 euros, the indictment said. But, according to the indictment, many donors, coming mostly from poor east European countries, were never paid the money.
The scandal broke into open when one donor collapsed at Pristina airport, catching a plane for Istanbul, after his kidney was removed in “Medicus” clinic.
In a related development EULEX is also carrying out an investigation on illegal organs trafficking allegedly performed by high officials of the Kosovo Liberation Army, which started a rebellion against Serbian rule in 1998.
Tanjug News Agency
May 25, 2012
“Kosovo organ trafficking mastermind arrested”
PRIŠTINA: The suspected mastermind behind an organ trafficking network has been arrested in Israel, EU Special Prosecutor Jonathan Ratel said on Thursday.
“We have received information that Moshe Harel has been arrested in Israel on organ trafficking and other related offences. We are seeking confirmation with the Israeli authorities,” he told AFP.
If confirmed, the arrest could lead to a breakthrough in the trial of seven people accused of organ trafficking and illegal transplants at the Medicus clinic in Priština in 2008, the French agency said.
Harel was arrested in Priština that year but fled Kosovo after he was released from detention.
Kosovo authorities subsequently issued an international arrest warrant.
According to the indictment, at least 30 illegal kidney removals and transplants were carried out in the Priština clinic in 2008.
The donors were from poor Eastern European and Central Asian countries, who were promised about EUR 15,000 to become organ donors.
The indictment describes the Israeli national as the mastermind of a network for recruiting donors and finding recipients.
The seven suspects on trial include former Kosovo Health Secretary Ilir Rexhaj and Lutfi Dervishi, a prominent Priština urologist, writes AFP.
Another suspect in the case is Turkish doctor Yusuf Sonmez, accused of having carried out illegal operations to remove organs. He is also indicted in Turkey.
The Kosovo clinic was raided by police in 2008 after a Turkish man collapsed at Priština airport waiting for a flight back to Istanbul after having his kidney removed.
The case is being tried by EULEX, set up to help the local judiciary handle sensitive cases “after the territory (unilaterally) declared independence from Serbia in 2008″, concludes AFP.
Tanjug News Agency
May 23, 2012
Kosovo: Homes of Serb returnees set on fire
PEČ: Two houses belonging to Serb returnees were burnt down in the village of Drenovac in Kosovo and Metohija, late on Tuesday.
The village is located south of the Ibar River, where Serbs live in isolated enclaves.
Nenad Stašić, who lives in the village, told Tanjug news agency that around midnight fire damaged the houses of Milovan Radosavljević and Arso Stepić, but that no one was inside at that time.
Firefighters arrived around 01:00, but the fire had already destroyed Radosavljević’s house, whereas the second home was damaged to a lesser degree, he said.
Stašić also said that Serb returnees from the village believe that the houses were set on fire “in order to send a clear message to Serbs that they do not belong in Metohija”.
“Last week it was agreed that another 12 houses for Kosovo Serb returnees will be built. This is the message for those people as well that they are not welcome here,” the villager said.
Last year, first seven Serb families returned to Drenovac, five of which live in the village permanently.
Kosovo police (KPS) was expected to send “special units to the scene”, according to Tanjug. Their role would be to conduct an investigation and determine the cause of the fire.
Ministry for Kosovo condemns attacks on Serbs
The Ministry for Kosovo condemned on Wednesday the burning of the homes of Serb returnees in the village of Drenovac in Kosovo and called on EULEX to find the perpetrators.
“We call on all relevant international factors in the province to use their authority to compel the so-called Priština institutions and Kosovo Albanian officials to truly ensure the safety of Kosovo Serbs south of the Ibar, instead of pompously announcing their plan for northern Kosovo, and suppress Albanian extremism instead of encouraging it,” says the release.
The ministry notes it has warned representatives of the international community on several occasions about the constant attacks and the difficult position of Serb returnees in Kosovo, and about the deteriorating situation in Klina in particular.
“The ministry is calling on KFOR to strengthen its presence in returnee villages near Klina and protect Serb lives and property from Albanian extremists. The burning of houses in the village of Drenovac, and other unresolved attacks on returnees reflect Pristina’s position and treatment of Serb returnees and IDPs,” says the release.
Beta News Agency
May 24, 2012
New provocation from Priština, state secretary says
PRIŠTINA: Forming of the Kosovo government’s Administrative Office for the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica is a provocation, Oliver Ivanović has stated.
“There will not be some special reaction from the Serbian government, especially not in this situation, besides condemnation and qualification of the act as a flagrant provocation that is not aimed at calming down the situation but at upsetting the Serbian population and creating a situation in which incidents will be possible,” he said.
The Serbian Ministry for Kosovo state secretary stressed that the Serbs would not accept such offices and that their founding was an attempt to change the situation in the field ahead of the dialogue which is “more than certain”.
“Such offices will not be accepted by Serbs because they have their local self-government which is functioning solidly. The self-government has its flaws, this could of course be better, but some local self-government imposed by Priština or some international circles certainly will not improve the situation,” Ivanović explained.
According to him, the forming of the office cannot change the position of northern Kosovo Serbs or the position of the future Serbian government in the negotiations with Priština.
The Kosovo government decided on Wednesday to form the Administrative Office for northern Kosovska Mitrovica that will provide service to citizens and coordinate investments in this part of Kosovo.
The Office will include seven directorates and have 55 employees.
Serbs are the majority population in the north and reject both the authority of the government in Priština, and the unilateral declaration of independence made by ethnic Albanians in early 2008.