Claims of organ theft to be investigated

June 27, 2008 at 4:47 PM

PRISTINA, Kosovo, June 27 (UPI) -- The Council of Europe has launched an investigation into allegations that rebels in Kosovo sold human organs forcibly removed from Serbs.

The council appointed Dick Marty, a Swiss senator and lawyer who investigated CIA rendition flights in Europe, to lead the investigation, Deutsche Welle reported Friday.

Leaders in Kosovo, which declared independence this year, deny the charges, first made in a book by Carla del Ponte. Del Ponte, who served as chief prosecutor for the war crimes tribunal at The Hague, published "The Hunt: Me and the War Criminals" in the spring.

Del Ponte claimed as many as 300 people, mostly Serbs, after the war were taken from Kovoso to Albania and that some of those people may have had their organs trafficked.

Human Rights Watch said there is strong evidence of abductions and transfers to Albania and some of organ trafficking and called for an investigation.

Albanian Foreign Minister Lulzim Basha called del Ponte's claims "inventions and absurdities."

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