March 23rd 2010 06:22:15 PM
Earlier this month French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, who was the UN chief in Kosovo from 1999 to 2001, was asked to comment on the KLA’s 1999 organ-removal operation from kidnapped Serbs, Russians, Albanians, Arabs, Montenegrins and others, and respond to accusations that he himself bore some responsibility in either covering it up or else turning a blind eye.
If only his outburst mocking the Voice of America reporter had stopped at calling the man crazy for thinking that he, a doctor by profession, could be involved with such a thing. But Kouchner didn’t stop there. He went on to scoff at the notion of the now infamous “Yellow House,” where it all took place and is the subject of more than one active investigation, as Carla del Ponte — herself a reluctant investigator into the whole thing — mentioned in her 2008 book “Madame Prosecutor.”
So far, I haven’t suspected Kouchner of anything close to knowing about the operation at the time, much less involvement in it. After all, every article connecting his name to the whole thing points to him only because he was the UN guy in charge of Kosovo at the time (that is, in the immediate post-war period that started in June, 1999). The words that have been repeated in these articles are that it all took place “with his blessing,” but these items offer no substantiating paragraphs or even sentences explaining that or offering evidence.
The closest thing to elaboration on this accusation came in from the Serbian newspaper Vecernje Novosti (”Evening News”) in May, 2008. As translated and excerpted by the de-construct.net blog:
“Serbian officials were an inch away from the kidnapped [victims] in Kosovo and Metohija on a number of occasions, but were always prevented from reaching them”, the members of the former investigative teams of the state’s Coordinating Center for the province said.
“This is why not a single search had produced any results, even though many of the kidnapped were still alive at the time, and were imprisoned in Kosovo and Metohija”, Serbs who were leading the investigations after the war said, adding that the whole “business” took place in the years 2000 and 2001, when Kosovo Albanian butchers held Serbs in the numerous concentration camps and prisons throughout Kosovo province, and when the Western officials, including Kouchner, [had] already been firmly established in the southern Serbian province, through their various institutions under the NATO and UN umbrella.
Milorad Pejcinovic, leader of the Serbian investigative team assigned with the task of finding the secret makeshift prisons and concentration camps in Kosovo and Metohija, said that there can be no doubt UNMIK [had] been purposely thwarting every single investigation.
“There is no question that every serious search of our team has been thwarted by the UNMIK police, claiming that the locations for which we had solid evidence that they contain our kidnapped people, are not safe. Whenever we would come within an inch of uncovering them, UNMIK police would forbid us to move further, claiming that the Albanians have learned about our intentions and that our lives are at stake,” Pejcinovic said.
He revealed that the UNMIK police was also preventing every individual attempt by the families to find their kidnapped loved ones, telling them that they must have a court order to enter certain locations, which “served to provide sufficient time for the Albanians who held kidnapped Serbs imprisoned to move them to other locations”.
“The biggest problem was the fact that Albanians had their men in UNMIK, who would inform them about each of our intentions to search the terrain. The same thing happened during one of the most complex searches which lasted three days. When we came to the entryway of one of the secret locations, UNMIK ordered us to turn back, because ‘they can’t guarantee our safety’,” Serbian investigators said.
So what this sounds like to me is the usual: the internationals covering for Albanian crimes and preventing their investigation, something the U.S. engages in itself when, to name just one example, our military diverts international investigations of the KLA’s heroin factories. As a Swedish OSCE official put it, according to Chris Deliso’s book: “The KLA, and its criminal partners, it was tacitly understood, would not be touched. ‘[T]he deal was, you leave us alone, we leave you alone,’ a former Swedish OSCE official in Kosovo sums up. ‘It had its benefits, mainly, that we were allowed to live.’”
The UN people knew the KLA were dangerous, and had no intention of interfering with these “freedom fighters’ ” illegal activitites, and still don’t today. This may fall short of direct “involvement,” as Kouchner is being accused of, but if you’re Bernard Kouchner, it’s still a crime of omission worth covering up. It’s called complicity. And so he impugned himself by denying even the existence of the well-proved “Yellow House.”
And THAT, almost more than anything else, puts responsibility right in his lap, and casts suspicion on his claims that he doesn’t know anything about any such operation. So he’s just dug himself deeper.
The Vecernje Novosti item from May, 2008 also has the following, according to De-construct.net:
The spokesman of the Serbian War Crimes Tribunal Bruno Vekaric told Vecernje Novosti the War Crimes Prosecution is in possession of the informations according to which numerous criminal charges have been brought up against one UNMIK [United Nations Mission in Kosovo] official for trafficking internal organs of Serbs kidnapped in Kosovo-Metohija province, and also earlier, in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Vekaric explained that the official charged for the most macabre crimes of extracting organs from the healthy young Serbs for sale was a forensic expert within the UNMIK, who has since fled to South America.
Vekaric said that the Prosecution has evidence that UNMIK had opened an investigation about the human organ trafficking in the Serbian province at some point, but that they are not given access to the documentation which would allow them to learn the results of UNMIK’s investigation.
So an actual UNMIK official was charged, and the UN mission that Kouchner headed had started an investigation — and yet he acts like this is the first he’s hearing of any such preposterous crimes. He might as well have turned himself in right there.
Of course, let’s keep in mind that Kouchner is also the founder of Doctors Without Borders, whose record on saving Serbian lives we are reminded of by Stella Jatras:
Even the 1999 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, France’s Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) or Doctors without Borders (DWB) expelled the Greek arm of DWB because the Greeks showed compassion by treating those injured or dying Serbians in Yugoslavia during NATO’s bombing campaign. Apparently the Hippocratic Oath by France’s Medecins Sans Frontiers stopped at the Serbian border.