Kosovo Serb and Kosovo Albanian families insist their governments must do more to locate missing persons

Article posted on December 24, 2012

ICMP is pleased to distribute the conclusions of a two-day conference hosted by ICMP in Skopje, FYROM/Macedonia, on 20 and 21 November,, entitled “The Future of the Missing Persons Process from the Kosovo Conflict.” The conference gathered representatives of family associations of missing persons, government representatives from Belgrade and Pristina, as well as representatives from the international community, including EULEX and ICRC.

Around 40 representatives of family associations of the missing, who represent the leadership of Kosovo Albanian and Kosovo Serb family associations, participated in drafting the conclusions, which were later adopted by the Kosovo Coordination Council of Associations of Missing Persons, the Association of Families of Kidnapped and Killed Civilians, Soldiers and Policemen in Kosovo and Metohija, and the Association of Families of Kidnapped and Missing Persons from Kosovo and Metohija, as well as the relevant authorities from Belgrade and Pristina.

Family associations of missing Kosovo Serbs and Kosovo Albanians concluded that authorities from Pristina and Belgrade should increase their efforts to obtain information on the location of clandestine gravesites including looking through all archives and the possible use of satellite imagery and all other available means/modern technologies in order to increase their field operations in cooperation with the international community.

They also concluded that it is necessary to discuss the creation of a regional list of persons missing from the conflicts in former Yugoslavia, which would encompass a consolidated Kosovo list of missing persons. In addition, the families expressed their openness toward future discussion about joint commemoration and memorialization.

Family associations called on strengthening witness protection programs and stressed the need to educate family associations on how to use laws on access to information of public interest in order to obtain information related to missing persons.

It was also concluded that a working group should be formed that would review all identifications of persons based on the classical method prior to the introduction of DNA analysis.

The families requested from ICMP to continue its engagement after the mandate of EULEX expires in 2014 and called on commencing dialogue on the missing persons process between the relevant authorities from Belgrade and Pristina in Brussels under the auspices of the European Union.

The full list of conclusions and recommendations is available for download from our website.

Formed in 1996, ICMP is the only specialized international organization that addresses the issue of missing persons in all of its facets. ICMP endeavors to secure the co-operation of governments and other authorities in locating and identifying persons missing as a result of armed conflicts, other hostilities or violations of human rights and to assist them in doing so.