164. The practical dimension of the trafficking enterprise was relatively simple. Captives brought as far as the Fushë-Krujë area (which entailed an arduous drive of several hours onwards from Rripe or Burrel) were first held in the “safe house” facility. The proprietor of this property was an ethnic Albanian who allegedly shared both clan ties and organised criminal connections with members of the “Drenica Group”.
165. As and when the transplant surgeons were confirmed to be in position and ready to operate, the captives were brought out of the “safe house” individually, summarily executed by a KLA [Kosovo Liberation Army] gunman, and their corpses transported swiftly to the operating clinic.
166. The surgical procedures thereupon performed – cadaver kidney extractions, rather than surgeries on live donors – are the most common means through which donor organs and tissues are acquired for transplant purposes – except for the criminal method of obtaining the cadavers. Eminent organ transplantation experts whom we have consulted during our inquiry described these procedures to us as efficient and low-risk.
167. Sources stated that the Fushë-Krujë axis was chosen to host these facilities because of its proximity to the main airport servicing Tirana. The facilities at the hub of this organ-trafficking ring – the “safe house” and the operating clinic – therefore offered accessibility for incoming international visitors and outgoing shipments alike. [Footnotes omitted.]One of the most explosive allegations in the report is the finding that Hashim Thaçi is the man "the "Drenica Group" had as its chief." [Report, Paragraph 58]. Exit polls suggest that Thaçi was reelected as Prime Minister of Kosovo in the election held on December 12, 2010.
The involvement of organized crime in procuring and supplying human organs has a long history and a broad geography. Michele Goodwin's brilliant book, "Black Markets - The Supply and Demand of Body Parts," is the definitive study of how the law can variously discourage and encourage illicit trade in parts of the human body. Tragically, the law has been largely silent so far on the human organ atrocities reported by the Council of Europe.