30 August 2019
Today, we commemorate the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, raising awareness of the plight of the missing and their families worldwide and re-committing to determine the fate of the Disappeared.
Twenty years after the end of the 1998-1999 conflict, names of Missing Persons keep being added to the Official List. There are currently 1,653 missing persons. In order to make progress in solving the fate of the Missing it is imperative that the concerned parties exchange reliable and relevant information.
Coordination between stakeholders must improve and communication with family associations strengthened. The continued professionalization of police and forensics officers must remain a high priority, together with the coherent implementation of effective and comprehensive search strategies.
“This is an issue which affects many families here in Kosovo and in the region and I would like to extend my support to the families who are still waiting to find out about the fate of their loved ones. While the nature of the identification process is sensitive, complicated and time consuming, it is vital that it continues in order to find answers on the fate of the missing. EULEX has dedicated capabilities in this area and will continue supporting as required its Kosovo partners”, said EULEX Acting Head of Mission Bernd Thran. In this context, the Kosovo authorities' genuine commitment remains instrumental to further the work on missing persons, starting with the pending approval of the bylaw on the reorganisation of the Institute of Forensic Medicine, a key step towards its modernization.
From the beginning of EULEX’s mandate to date, the Mission has conducted 639 field operations to locate missing persons, including 160 exhumations. The remains of 449 individuals have been identified, including 306 missing persons.
EULEX provides technical assistance to the Kosovo Institute of Forensic Medicine through its team of forensic experts to locate, identify and return to their families the human remains of the missing.