Thursday, 8 August 2013

Serbia and Kosovo search for mass grave together

Belgrade and Pristina plan to hold a joint investigation at the site of a suspected mass grave from the 1999 Kosovo war near the south Serbian town of Medvedja.

Missing persons commissions from both Serbia and Kosovo, along with officials from the Serbian war crimes prosecutor’s office and the EU rule-of-law mission in Kosovo, are visiting the site of the suspected mass grave near the border on Wednesday.

The Kosovo missing persons commission has said that it has information that there is a possible mass grave in the mainly ethnic Albanian-populated village of Svirce.

Two years ago, the Serbian missing persons commission also examined this area because there were indications that there might be a mass grave in the nearby village of Tupale, but nothing was found.

This is the second suspected mass grave from the Kosovo war that Serbia has promised to probe this year.

The Serbian authorities announced in July that they would again investigate a suspected mass grave in the south-western town of Raska that could contain the bodies of ethnic Albanians killed during the war.

The issue of missing persons and mass graves in Serbia was also raised recently by Belgrade’s war crimes prosecutor after a confession from a top Serbian official charged by Hague Tribunal, Vlastimir Djordjevic, who said last month that he knew about graves containing the bodies of Albanian civilians on Serbian territory.

The Serbian prosecutor then filed a request to the Hague court to interrogate Djordjevic about the subject.

Several international organisations, including the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross, expressed concerns earlier this year that the search for more than 1,700 people who remain missing since the conflict between Serbian forces and Kosovo rebels had “stalled”.

In his recent quarterly report on the situation in Kosovo, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon welcomed recent efforts to normalise relations between Belgrade and Pristina, but also said that more must be done to find out what happened to people who disappeared during wartime and whose bodies have not yet been found.

Thursday 8 August 2013


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