Sunday, April 13, 2008

A new low in warfare?

Wars of the last 100 years have frequently pushed the boundaries of brutality and depravity - think of the Western Front in WW1, the appalling viciousness of the Spanish Civil War, the Russian Front of WW2 or more recently the random amputations meted out to civilians in Sierra Leone's 'rebel' uprising - but if Carla Del Ponte's allegations of human organ trafficking in Kosovo are true then warfare has plumbed new depths.

In the book, Del Ponte writes that her investigators visited a house in the remote mountainous region outside Burrel, Albania, which was allegedly being used as an impromptu clinic for the butchering of 300 young Serbs captured by the Kosovo Liberation Army and transported in lorries across the border from Kosovo to Albania.

According to witnesses - including one who said he had driven some of the organs to Tirana airport, and a team of unnamed journalists who investigated the allegations - the victims had their kidneys removed before being killed later and having other organs taken.

"Prisoners were aware of the fate that awaited them, and according to the source pleaded, terrified, to be killed immediately," Del Ponte writes.

The "house-clinic" was visited by UN officials from Kosovo and tribunal investigators. "The team was shocked by what they saw," said Chuck Sudetic, a former tribunal official who is joint author of the book. "They found gauze and vials of medicines, including a muscle relaxer used during surgery."

And it wasn't only captured Serbs:
The victims were said to include Albanians and trafficked women from Russia and eastern Europe forced to work as prostitutes.

del Ponte's allegations have met with strenuous denials. They may be false (I really hope they are) but it's not too hard to imagine any diplomats involved in the region wanting to scotch the rumours, Kosovo's a powder keg.

The current economic crisis coupled with soaring demand from resources of every kind may soon threaten to drive the world to further mass warfare. This may prove to be one resource, one which becomes plentiful during war, the profiteers will be unable to resist.


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