Kosovars Urge Resolution of Missing Persons Cases


Survivors of the conflict in Kosovo are demanding to know the fate of their loved ones who went missing during the hostilities. They've urged their own leaders to rally international pressure on Serbia through the UN Security Council.

Family members of the 1,754 documented missing people put their demands in a letter to Kosovo's Prime Minister, Hashim Thaci, and Foreign Minister, Enver Hoxhaj on Tuesday.

“Serbian authorities and representatives of Serbian institutions have information on places where mass graves are located,” Prenk Gjetaj, chief of Kosovo’s missing persons commission, said.

The armed conflict between the Kosovo Liberation Army and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia lasted from 28 February 1998 until 11 June 1999.

Missing persons were part of EU-mediated talks between the Kosovo and Serbian authorities, but the issue did not appear in the document that normalized relations signed April 19.

EU officials have described the issue as a humanitarian rather than a political one, but activists warn that failing to deal with missing persons could scuttle the resumption of normal ties.

Earlier this month, investigators from Belgrade and Pristina started looking for a possible mass grave in the village of Svirce, Tanjug news agency reported. But overall progress has been slow, with slightly more than half of the 36 excavations planned for 2012 carried out.

In his July 2013 progress report on the situation in Kosovo, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urged resolution of missing persons cases, writing that "full normalization requires resolution of painful issues inherited from the war."

Family members of the missing are urging Kosovo's government to put the issue on the agenda of the UN Security Council meeting on August 29.


Read More about disappeared persons here, here and here.

For more information on the UN mission in Kosovo, you can click here.

Article sources:  Balkan Transitional Justice http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/families-urge-kosovo-authorities-to-internationalize-missing-person-issue and B92 http://www.b92.net/eng/news/crimes.php?yyyy=2013&mm=08&dd=06&nav_id=87195

(Image: http://www.state.gov/www/regions/eur/rpt_9905_ethnic_ksvo_7a.html )