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Press Release

Message from EULEX Acting Head of Mission Joelle Vachter on the International Day of the Disappeared

30 August 2013

The International Day of the Disappeared serves to raise awareness of the authorities, the press and general public to the plight of the Missing and their families worldwide. This is a critical issue which affects thousands of families in Kosovo and is of the utmost importance for EULEX.

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EULEX contributes to Kosovo's search for the Missing with a team of forensic experts. They support the Department of Forensic Medicine at the Kosovo Ministry of Justice in its intensive efforts to determine the fate of the Missing. We are working closely together with family associations, individual families and several other stakeholders, not only because we need their cooperation in the difficult process of the search for the missing, but also because we strongly believe in the right of the relatives of the Missing to be informed about the status of their cases at all times.

With EULEX support since December 2008, the families of 340 individuals have been finally able to claim their loved ones' remains. This year we have so far been able to conduct 46 field operations throughout Kosovo in the search for human remains. The remains of 43 individuals have been recovered. Within the next year, additional EU assistance to the Department of Forensic Medicine is foreseen that will further strengthen and modernise the Department's forensic capabilities through the supply of equipment, technical training, and long-term mentoring.

There are still 1726 persons missing. Although it might not be possible to recover all of them, we continue to do our utmost to determine the fate of as many as possible and to provide assistance to the judiciary in its criminal investigations.