A European human rights watchdog said Wednesday it would investigate claims that ethnic Albanian guerrillas killed Serbs and sold their organs at the end of the war in Kosovo.
Hundreds of Serbs and ethnic Albanians are still missing from the 1998-99 war.
The Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly is sending Swiss Senator Dick Marty to Kosovo to draft a report on the accusations, which first appeared in a book by former U.N. war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte.
Del Ponte wrote that she had been told by "credible journalists" of an organ-trafficking scheme. In her book "The Hunt: War Criminals and Me," she wrote that, according to her sources, Kosovo Albanians transported between 100 and 300 people — most of them Serb civilians — by truck from Kosovo to a house near the Albanian town of Burrel, about 55 miles north of the capital, Tirana. There, doctors allegedly extracted the captives' internal organs.
Albanian Foreign Minister Lulzim Basha has called the allegations "inventions and absurdities." But the Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly — a group of 315 European parliamentarians meeting in Strasbourg — said it did not have "any grounds to doubt the competence and awareness of the former prosecutor of the Hague Tribunal on this matter."
It said that the claims must be thoroughly investigated and that, if true, "such monstrous crimes deserve the strongest condemnation on behalf of the European peoples."