A Film On Kosovo Organ Trafficking
Source: Serbia Through American Eyes
Deana Kjuka, Radio Free Europe – Radio Liberty, April 04, 2013
It is certainly not the first time that well-known and at times controversial Bosnian Serb film director Emir Kusturica has found himself in the middle of a controversy about his work regarding the complicated past of the Balkans.
Almost a week after Kusturica announced that he was planning on recording a film about organ trafficking in Kosovo, the head of the Kosovo association of film artists, Lijirak Celjaj, announced that he wanted to make Kusturica persona non grata regarding his announcement about his upcoming project. He described Kusturica as a director whose film scripts are favorable to the Serbian government.
However, Kusturica already said that the project, which he envisions will take him three years to complete, will be filmed in Russia, because he is aware that he wouldn’t be allowed to film on location in Kosovo.
The majority of the scenes will be shot in Russia, the location of the plot. The film will also allude to themes in Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky’s books. Already in June, Kusturica is due to begin filming “Love and War,” featuring actress Monica Bellucci.
Kusturica’s 1995 film “Underground,” which tells the life story of three friends from World War II to the Balkan wars in the 1990s, was awarded the Palme d’Or, the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival.
Besides receiving accolades, the film was also criticized by French critics for offering a “postmodern version of the most drivelling and lying Serb propaganda.”
In an interview with Tanjug news, Kusturica said that organ trafficking was one of the major topics of this century and “the most brutal act and strongest sign of a return to pagan times.”
In October 2012, the EU special task force that has been tasked to look into the alleged organ trafficking that took place in Kosovo and Albania in the 1990’s announced its plans to begin interviewing witnesses in Serbia.
In 2010, Dick Marty who at the time was the human rights rapporteur at the Council of Europe, released a report linking former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK), including current Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, to trafficking in organs taken from Serbian prisoners following the 1998-99 conflict in Kosovo.
However, it was the former chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Carla Del Ponte, who initially made these allegations in “The Hunt: Me and the War Criminals,” a book she published in 2008, shortly after she stepped down as chief prosecutor.
— Deana Kjuka