EULEX Recovers Remains of Kosovo War Victims

EULEX’s Department of Forensic Medicine exhumed three bodies in Fushe-Kosovo on Tuesday, which are suspected to be victims of the Kosovo war.EU Rule of Law Mission to Kosovo, EULEX, forensics team exhumed the remains of three unidentified people on Tuesday, from the cemetery in Fushe-Kosovo, who were buried immediately after the war in Kosovo in 1999.

The European exhumation coordinator, Krasimir Nikolov, told BIRN that the ethnicity of the recovered bodies at the Nakarade village’s cemetery is unknown and it is necessary to wait for the DNA analysis to acertain whether the victims were Kosovo Albanians or Kosovo Serbs.

“The bodies were buried first in the Bresje village, and afterwards reburied here [Nakarade]. Some of them were identified, but others were buried as unknown. As you can see there are only burned bones and small fragments,” Nikolov said.

The remains of the three victims were found at the end of June 1999 in a private house which was set on fire.

In the small town of Fushe-Kosova [Kosovo-Polje in Serbian], over 150 Kosovo Albanians were killed during the conflict, says Ahmet Grejcevci who runs the Association of Searching for the Missing Persons and War Crimes in that municipality.

He suspects that the remains belong to 17 missing Kosovo Albanians from his hometown.

“We don’t know for sure, but we suspect that the bodies recovered are [Kosovo] Albanians who were executed and then burned inside a house owned by an Albanian,” Grejcevci told BIRN.

EULEX experts from the Department of Forensic Medicine, together with investigators of the War Crimes Investigation Unit, were overseeing the site operation in Fushe-Kosova.

EULEX forensic experts plan to assess more than thirty potential sites, suspected to be mass graves this year as part of their continued search for missing people from the Kosovo war and its aftermath. The plan is to conduct site assessments and exhumations in the regions of Gjakova, Peja, Klina, Prizren, Mitrovica, Skënderaj, and Podujevo.

Thirteen years after the end of war in Kosovo, out of the total of 6,019 persons reported to the International Red Cross as missing by their families, over 1,400 remain unaccounted for – most are Kosovo Albanians.

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