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Press Release

EULEX DFM HAND OVER OF HUMAN REMAINS CEREMONY

15 September 2011

EULEX and the DFM have returned the remains of six individuals who disappeared between the months of March and June 1999 from the Mitrovica region. Research and analysis of relevant documentation by the EULEX forensic experts led to a field operation in the first week of June 2011 which resulted in the recovery of these missing persons from the Muslim Cemetery in north Mitrovica.

“We have exhumed in early June, 8 graves in north Mitrovica cemetery and after 2-3 months we have received their DNA reports and today is the day when families were ready to take the bodies and it was handover ceremony” said Tarja Paivikki Formisto, Forensic anthropologist and Identification Coordinator at the Eulex Office on Missing Persons and Forensics

Autopsies were conducted immediately after the exhumation at the DFM HQ. DNA results were received at the end of August. The identifications were subsequently processed and confirmed by the EULEX identification coordinator.

The families were informed by the DFM Outreach Unit in coordination with EULEX in the first week of September.

Later on this week, two further hand-overs will take place: one case from Mitrovica region and one from Prizren region.

Since IOC EULEX Forensic Experts, pursuant to their mandate, continued to determine the fate of missing persons and to assist the EULEX WCIU with forensic Expertise, including exhumations, autopsies and identifications of war crime victims. To date, over 300 field operations have been conducted, resulting in over 241 victims being exhumed, autopsied and identified. Of these, 176 were missing person’s cases.

Video and photos from the visit can be downloaded here.