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Head of EULEX, Yves de Kermabon statement on the Day of Missing in Kosovo

27 April 2010

“On this 27th of April, Kosovo commemorates the day of the Missing. Determining the fate of the Missing in Kosovo remains a crucial task which EULEX regards as of the highest priority.

Dealing with the legacy of past human rights violations is one of the many challenges facing Kosovo today. Initiatives undertaken to confront impunity and to promote the rule of law by investigating past abuses are important factors towards forging a justice system that advances international human rights standards, restores public confidence, fights impunity and strengthens the fabric of civil society. To this end, EULEX, War Crime Investigation Unit (WCIU) within EULEX and the Office on Missing Persons and Forensics (OMPF) have in partnership, implemented a coherent approach which addresses Kosovo’s recent history through the search for the Missing and the forensic- and criminal investigation of serious past abuses.

EULEX knows that for the many families with missing loved ones, addressing the past is also about addressing their present. EULEX, on this day, remembers the families and their missing relatives and underlines its commitment to continue assisting the Kosovo authorities in their efforts to bring answers, results and historical clarification about the painful issue of the Missing“.

Note to editor:
Since EULEX forensic experts and the OMPF joined efforts to address the issue of the Missing in December 09th 2008, 185 field operations have been conducted and 79 missing persons have been located and identified. One hundred and thirty five (135) remains of the missing plus other victims of the conflict and its aftermath have been forensically examined, identified and returned to families. An exhaustive examination of unidentified remains was begun and is continuing. Over 800 files related to commingled, fragmented and burnt cases have been reviewed. More than 1000 bone samples have been selected for further analysis. Additionally, over 130 coordination meetings have been held with family associations, as a result of which a significant number of important leads have been obtained.