International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

EULEX Kosovo mission confirmed location of bodies found in Serbia

November 20, 2020

The European Union mission in Kosovo, EULEX, confirmed on Friday information by the official Belgrade and Pristina that experts from the Kosovo Institute of Forensic Medicine and Serbia's Government Commission for Missing Persons found human remains in Kizevak, a quarry near Raska, in the southwestern region in Serbia.

Serbia's police secured a mass grave sitewhich the head of the country's Missing Persons Commission Veljko Odalovic said on Wednesday might contain the bodies of 15 people missing since the end of the Kosovo conflict.

According to Pristina, the remains are believed to be those of Kosovo Albanians, killed during the 1998-1999 war in the then Serbia's province, while Belgrade says it still has to be determined after the DNA testing.

On Friday, the exact location was found with the help of aerial footage, EULEX said, adding the work in Kizevak was still far from over, the KoSSev website reported.

EULEX experts have been participating in the excavations in Kizevak since 2015. Still, this year progress has been made thanks to the use of aerial images, the Mission said in a statement.

"The problem was that it was a large quarry and the landscape changed over time because the quarry was still in use for many years," EULEX forensic archaeologist Javier Santana said.

The process of determining the exact location of human remains is further complicated by the fact that there are four to five levels in the mine with an approximate height of 13 meters each, EULEX Mission added.

The deputy head of the Kosovo Institute of Forensic Medicine, Tarja Formisto, described the new situation as a positive development and a reward for "continuous efforts" to determine the fate of more than 1,640 people, who were still missing in Kosovo.

"The issue of the missing is a human rights issue. It is about the human rights of relatives to find out what happened to their loved ones," Formisto said, urging all relatives of the missing to give blood samples to enable the identification process.

Kosovo's Foreign Minister Melissa Haradinaj-Stubla asked Belgrade to allow her to visit the excavation site on Saturday "to draw attention to how Serbs hid mass graves throughout their country," the Associated Press reported.

Source:  http://rs.n1info.com/English/NEWS/a674613/EULEX-Kosovo-mission-confirmed-location-of-bodies-found-in-Serbia.html

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