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UN in Kosovo Accused of Coverup of Organ Trade & Press Beating, Silent

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 27 -- Accused of covering up the harvest and sale of organs of prisoners of war in Kosovo, the UN has had nothing to say for the past 11 days. Nor has it commented on reports of the beating of a journalist directly in front of its UNMIK headquarters in Pristina for the past five days.

On December 27, the UN simply ignored the organ question altogether. Back on December 16, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's acting Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq:

Inner City Press: I wanted to know if the UN system or UNMIK [United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo] has any response to this Council of Europe report saying that Kosovo’s Prime Minister [Hashim] Thaci was involved in an organ-trading ring — and that the UN knew that, that’s one of the allegations.

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Haq: We are aware of the report; we’ve seen the reports coming out from the Council of Europe and are studying what they have to say. At this stage, there is nothing further to say by way of response, but obviously we’ll continue to study it and may have a response down the line.

Ten days later, with the UN not having said anything even as the charges grew more specific, Inner City Press asked Haq and Ban's main spokesman Martin Nesirky, who unilaterally canceled all noon press briefings for this week, the following question in writing:

Please comment on reports of Serbia's request for an ICTY investigation of Soren Jessen Petersen for contempt of court during his time with UNMIK, see

The question was submitted on December 26, with a deadline of 12:30 pm on December 27. But an hour before that deadline, Haq responded only that "UNHQ is closed on Monday."

Petersen in UN Security Council, organ trade and answers not shown

   At 11:30 am on December 27, Ban's Haq sent this:

From: Farhan Haq [at]
To: Inner City Press, Martin Nesirky [at]
Date: Mon, Dec 27, 2010 at 11:32 AM
Re: Press Qs on Cote d'Ivoire, Darfur, Sri Lanka and Kosovo (and old questions... reiterated re [26] days ago

UNHQ is closed on Monday. Thanks.

   But has UNMIK in Kosovo been closed for the past ten or five days? Given the ten days of non response to the December 16 question, and the five days of non response to the December 23 question about the beaten reporter, the snow (job) is the issue. On December 23, Inner City Press had asked Haq:

Inner City Press: there is a case in Kosovo of a journalist that was beaten right in front of the UNMIK [United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo] headquarters. A regional press group has put out call saying that, you know, this is a… that attacks on journalists must cease in Kosovo. But I am wondering, particularly given [that] it happened in front of UNMIK, whether UNMIK has had anything to say about that?

Acting Deputy Spokesperson Haq: I am not aware of any recent communications by UNMIK, but we can check with them.

Apparently, in the five days after, Haq never did check with UNMIK. Watch this site.

* * *

At UN, As Serbia Complains of Telecom Cut in Kosovo, Few Are Listening

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 12 -- While the UN's reports on Kosovo and the resulting public Security Council sessions, 18 speeches and out, have become routinized, there are still interesting factoids which emerge. In the meeting of November 12, Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic complained that in late September

armed teams of ethnic Albanians brought down Serbia Telecom's mobile and fixed telephony network in South Kosovo... immediately affect[ing] approximately 100,000 South Kosovo Serbs, disrupting their ability to communicate beyond their enclaves - a serious breach of contemporary humanitarian norms... with hospital officials in Gracanica ascribing several fatalities to the inability of patients to call for help.”

  When the meeting was over, Inner City Press asked Jeremic to go to the stakeout area on camera and take questions on this and other matters. He declined, indicating that the session was routine.

  When another journalist asked him to respond to the charge by US Deputy Permanent Representative Rosemany DiCarlo that Serbia is calling for boycotting elections in Kosovo, he quipped, how can one call for a boycott of a country which doesn't exist?

DiCarlo, on the other hand, said that 71 countries have now recognized Kosovo, and that its sovereignty and borders can no longer be questioned.

Telecom, routine UN Security Council session not shown

  Kosovo's representative Vlora Citaku said these are no longer the subject of negotiation.

One wonders if South Sudan will go this way. Watch this site.

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

* * *

These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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