Prosecutor in Court to Probe Prisoner Organ Trafficking During Kosovo War

Albania's top prosecutor on Monday met the Serbian war crimes prosecutor who is probing claims that guerrillas killed Serb prisoners for their organs during the 1999 Kosovo war.

Vladimir Vukcevic handed the Albanian prosecutor the material the Serb side has gathered on the case so far, his spokesman Bruno Vekaric said in Belgrade. Vukcevic is probing claims that mass graves containing the remains of slain Serbs could be hidden in Albania.

Vekaric said Monday's meeting was very good "despite totally different positions" on the case. He said the U.S. embassies in Belgrade and Tirana played an important role in setting up the meeting.

Kosovo and Albania have denied any knowledge of the alleged crimes.

Albanian Prosecutor-General Ina Rama said Albania would supply "all the required support" to facilitate Vukcevic's work, according to her spokeswoman, Holta Zhiti.

Allegations of organ-trafficking involving Serbs killed during Kosovo's 1998-99 war first surfaced in a book by the former chief U.N. war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte.

In "The Hunt: War Criminals and Me," Del Ponte wrote that, according to her sources, between 100 and 300 mostly Serb civilians were transported by truck from Kosovo to a house near the Albanian town of Burrel, about 55 miles north of the capital, Tirana.

Kosovo guerrillas killed the Serbs and doctors allegedly extracted the captives' internal organs, Del Ponte wrote.

Albanian Foreign Minister Lulzim Basha has called the allegations "inventions and absurdities."

Thousands of people were killed in Kosovo as Serb security troops cracked down on ethnic Albanian separatists. The conflict ended after NATO bombed Serbia in 1999.

Hundreds of Serbs and ethnic Albanians are still missing from the war. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia on Feb. 17.