Balkanblog: current issues in the Balkans

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Here is the latest news on the situation in the Balkans. Check the chronology for a complete overview of the conflict between 1991-2001.

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Serb arrested for war crimes

Milorad Momic was arrested in the French Alps where he had been living under a pseudonym. He was a member of the Serbian unit the Scorpions, a special unit controlled by the Serbian Interior Ministry that took part in the slaughter of 8,000 Bosnians at Srebrenica in 1995.

Source: UPI.

Belgrade questions former general over Mladic

Former chief of the Yugoslav Army Security Directorate, Aco Tomic, was questioned in Belgrade on suspicion that he helped hide Ratko Mladic.

An investigation against Tomic and several others was first launched in 2006. The investigation was stopped after a meeting in the cabinet of then justice minister Zoran Stojkovic.

Serbian police also searched the home of Darko Mladic, the son of war crime fugitive Ratko Mladic, was ordered by war crimes prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic to find "evidence and clues pointing to the location where Mladic is hiding."

EU will investigate organ trafficking allegations

The EU mission in Kosovo has begun investigating allegations that Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) rebels engaged in organ trafficking. A report by Dick Marty was approved by the Council of Europe earlier.

The investigation will focus on the aftermath of the Kosovo conflict, including "numerous indications" that organs were removed from the bodies of prisoners held by the KLA on Albanian territory.

Source: BBC.

NATO documents linked Kosovo PM Thaci to organized crime

Leaked NATO documents from 2004 described Kosovo's prime minister Hashim Thaci as one of the country's "biggest fish" organized crime. This was reported by The Guardian. Kosovo dismissed the allegations. Xhavit Haliti, a close ally of Thaci, was described as the power behind Thaci and "highly involved in prostitution, weapons and drugs smuggling."

Dick Marty, a Council of Europe rapporteur, has reported these allegations in a recent report.

Kosovo PM Thaci winner of repeat elections

The Kosovo Central Election Commission announced that preliminary results of the elections in Kosovo showed that prime minister Thaci won with 32.4 percent. The Democratic League of Kosovo won 24.6 percent, while the Self-Determination Movement won 12.55 percent.

Voting was repeated in 6 municipalities.

Source: B92.

KFOR transfers border to Kosovo police

KFOR handed over control of a sector of the border with Macedonia to Kosovo Border Police at a special ceremony. Outgoing Kosovo Interior Minister Bajram Rexhepi voiced confidence that the transfer will boost co-operation with Macedonia in fighting crime.

Source: SE Times.

Serbia has asked Bosnia to extradite Croatian national

Serbia has asked Bosnia to extradite Croatian national Tihomir Purda, wanted on a war crimes indictment. Purda has been in custody since January 5, when he was arrested based on a warrant issued by Serbia. n 2007, Serbia issued a warrant for the arrest of Purda and two other Croats on suspicion that they shot at wounded JNA soldiers in 1991 and killed two of them, while the third died in a hospital. According to reports, the Croatian authorities knew about the warrant but did not act on it.

Repeat elections in 5 regions in Kosovo

Poll stations opened in 5 regions in Kosovo, affecting some 100,000 voters, due to irregularities during the December 12 elections. Three regions will hold an entirely new vote and two others a partial vote.

Source: RFE/RL.

EULEX wraps up organ trafficking hearings

EULEX has wrapped up hearings into alleged organ-trafficking in Kosovo. In two weeks it will be decided whether to bring seven suspects to trial, including an Israeli organizer and a Turkish doctor.

The charges revolve around the Medicus Clinic in Pristina, which was shut down in 2008 after a police probe was launched when a young Turkish citizen collapsed at the airport after having a kidney removed for a transplant to an Israeli citizen.

Among the suspects is a former health secretary who had issued a licence to the clinic although Kosovo law forbids organ transplants.