BBC Monitoring International Reports - April 9, 2008 Wednesday

Excerpt from report by Russian Centre TV, owned by the Moscow city government, on 6 April

[Presenter] Last week it transpired that Kosovo would probably not have gained independence if former prosecutor of the Hague [International War Crimes] Tribunal Carla Del Ponte would have decided a bit earlier to reveal what she had been silent about for a long time. In her book "The Hunt: Me and War Criminals" which was published last week, Del Ponte, who is now the Swiss ambassador to Argentina, confesses that she knew that Kosovo's incumbent leadershad kidnapped and sold Serbs as organ donors. However, she is not saying why she has decided to reveal this now. Here is Mikhail Shikayan about events which were hushed up and pushed into oblivion.

[Correspondent] Anybody can now buy memoirs about the Balkans conflict, published as a cheap softback. It costs only 20 euros to learn about horrific secrets which the former prosecutor of the Hague Tribunal was silent about for eight years. Carla Del Ponte rarely uses the first person singular pronoun and cites various sources while describing shocking episodes. For instance, it transpires that it was from journalists that she learnt that in summer 1999 Kosovo Liberation Army [KLA] gunmen, one of whose leaders was the incumbent prime minister of the region, Hashim Thaci, kidnapped people from Serb enclaves. Three hundred Serbs, Russians, Moldavians and Romanians were taken to northern Albania, to the area near the town of Burrel.

[Nataliya Narochnitskaya, head of the Paris branch of the Russian Institute of Democracy and Cooperation] According to some reports, there were 13 Russian women among them, wives of Serbs. Organs were cut out while they were still alive, then they were killed and other organs were taken out: first a kidney, the pancreas, and so on.

[Correspondent] While the men and woman lived in the yellow house, they were treated very well and they knew why. [passage omitted: an excerpt from the book]

[Yelena Guskova, head of the Modern Balkan Crisis Centre] The crimes described in Carla Del Ponte's book were known to the government and Balkans specialists and experts.

[Correspondent] It was not a secret to them that these crimes, comparable only to tortures in the Third Reich's concentration camps, were not the only ones committed against Serbs.

[Narochnitskaya] I remember an incident in the mid-90s, when I was travelling by car in the Serb Republic. I was taken to a cemetery in an area of fighting and mass graves. I was told a horrible story. There is a cross there. A child roasted with apples, like a Christmas goose, was found there.

[Correspondent] New York Times journalists wrote that some young ethnic Albanians had been urged by their seniors to rape Serb girls. Serb boys were knifed.

[Guskova] A huge amount of documents has been collected which shows that there was a genocide against the Serbs in Croatia. Horrific crimes against the Serbs were committed in Bosnia-Hercegovina. No research has yet been carried out tofind out more about numerous secret prisons, for instance in Sarajevo. The media and researchers mention the figure of 10,000 Serbs who died in those prisons in Sarajevo alone, let alone other incidents. We are never told about death camps for Serbs in Bosnia-Hercegovina.

[Correspondent] Of course Carla Del Ponte knows more than she said in her book. She knew everything but still was always against the Serbs and did not conceal this.

[Borislav Milosevic, former Yugoslav envoy to Russia] For me, she is the embodiment of injustice and hatred towards the Serbs.

[Narochnitskaya] She is indeed the devil incarnate, absolutely enraged with hatred towards the Serbs and acting on a certain order of course. There is a good reason to lodge a case against her. Why didn't she publish her book earlier? Because in this case Hashim Thaci would have been behind the bars rather than the leader of the so-called independent Republic of Kosovo.

[Guskova] Carla Del Ponte received huge volumes of documents concerning crimes against Serbs in Kosovo and Kosovo-Metohija. However, no attention was paid to this because the tasks were different. [passage omitted: excerpt from Del Ponte's book]

[Correspondent] Del Ponte is not longer working in The Hague, but last week the tribunal turned a blind eye to obvious facts and acquitted one of former commanders of the KLA [and former Kosovo prime minister], Ramush Haradinaj.

[Pavel Kandel, head of the Ethnic and Political Conflicts Department of the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences] [Haradinaj was acquitted] Despite the fact that his crimes are quite obvious and well known. Moreover, the tribunal itself was aware that witnesses were intimidated and some of them even killed, this is known. However, a not guilty verdict was delivered. [passage omitted]

[Correspondent] There are grounds to fear that in the near future the number of missing young people might rise sharply throughout Europe, not only in former Yugoslavia.

Source: Centre TV, Moscow, in Russian 1700 gmt 6 Apr 08
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