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Press Release

Remains of five individuals exhumed in Gjakovë/Đakovica

22 June 2011

EULEX forensic experts from the Department of Forensic Medicine (DFM) have exhumed the remains of five people from an unmarked site in the cemetery in Gjakovë/Đakovica. The individuals are suspected of being victims from the Kosovo conflict.

Following information received from the public, indicating that the remains of one individual had been located at the cemetery in Gjakovë/Đakovica, a team of EULEX forensic experts was deployed to exhume the remains and conduct a larger assessment.

According to Alan Robinson, the Co-Head of the DFM, this is a good illustration of the participation of civil society in the search for the missing.

“They were digging a grave where they found remains and due to the information they provided we were able to conduct this operation which resulted in exhuming five individuals”, said Robinson, stressing the importance of reliable information in finding the missing.

The remains have been transported to DFM in Prishtinë/Priština in order to start the process of identification which is to be conducted by EULEX forensic experts through a combination of DNA and forensic anthropological analysis.

The exhumation also provided a valuable opportunity to continue the mentoring of the recently-formed local Exhumations Team. The local team members of DFM from the Ministry of Justice actively participated in the operation, under the supervision of the EULEX Forensic Archaeologist.

The Kosovo Government Commission on Missing Persons has been kept informed during the whole process and the exhumation was conducted, as usual, in the presence of the Commission’s representatives.

In the upcoming weeks EULEX forensic experts from DFM are planning field operations in the regions of Gjakovë/Đakovica, Mitrovicë/Mitrovica, and Vushtrri/Vučitrn among others.

Since EULEX experts joined DFM in December 2008, the department has conducted more than 290 field operations. The remains of more than 150 missing persons have been found.