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Press Release

Media reports on Mitrovica excavation are inaccurate

25 March 2013

EULEX would like rebut inaccurate reports in the media related to field operations conducted in Mitrovica under the supervision of the mission's experts at the Department of Forensic Medicine (DFM).

It is important to underline that EULEX DFM works on the basis of information provided by a variety of sources regarding the location of missing persons. While all information is analysed in detail, EULEX DFM cannot guarantee that the information provided can lead to tangible results. This is why thorough excavation is necessary and is carried out following internationally recognised standards.

The recent press reports referred in particular to a field operation conducted at the Sitnica river in Mitrovica. The reports, that claimed that an "L" shaped trench was excavated and then the operation was concluded, are inaccurate. In fact, three trenches were excavated - the longest one been 17 meters long while the deepest one was 3.7 meters. The excavation was conducted in the presence of the EULEX War Crimes Investigation Unit (WCIU), the Kosovo Government Commission on Missing Persons, the Chairperson of the "Zeri i Prindërve" Family Association and the original informant in this case. No human remains were found at all three locations.

Media reports that do not reflect the truth undermine the right of the public to be accurately informed about the activities and commitment of the Ministry of Justice and EULEX related to the search for the missing in Kosovo. Such reports also create unnecessary anxiety for the families of the missing.

The EULEX Department of Forensic Medicine has conducted five field operations in 2013, where the remains of two individuals were recovered. Since January, eleven missing persons have been identified during the work in the mortuary. The remains of 26 individuals have been handed-over to families and authorities. Out of these, 19 were re-associations of bones to previously identified individuals, while the remainder belonged to recently found missing person cases.

For any further questions, families of the missing persons are encouraged to contact EULEX Department of Forensic Medicine (DFM).