Kosovo Foreign Minister, Meliza Haradinaj Stubla accused official Belgrade of „concealing crimes committed in Kosovo by not revealing the locations of the mortal remains of innocent civilians” on the same day the president of the Commission on Missing Persons of the Government of Serbia, Veljko Odalovic confirmed that human remains were found in a quarry near Raska. It is suspected that the remains could belong to 15 persons from Kosovo who have been listed as missing since the end of the war, he revealed. The news was later also confirmed by Odalovic’s Kosovo counterpart, Kushtrim Gara.
Haradinaj Stubla’s statement does not contain any information on what exactly has been discovered in the Kizevak quarry, it only alleges that Serbia continues to conceal the crimes.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, expresses its deepest indignation towards the authorities in Serbia, who continue to conceal the monstrous crimes against humanity committed in Kosovo in 1998/1999, by not revealing the locations of the mortal remains of innocent civilians killed by Serbian paramilitary forces, deliberately hidden in mass graves throughout Serbia,” Stubla said.
Stubla alleged that war crimes courts and prosecution in Serbia have been aware for decades of the “whereabouts of mortal remains of Kosovo Albanians” in a location called Kizevak, near Raska, adding that they made no steps to shed light on the crimes and refused to order detention against those “who committed the genocide.”
“This proves that crimes committed by Milosevic’s state and criminal apparatus, whose close and loyal collaborators are now in charge of Serbian institutions, Vucic and Dacic, are deliberately keeping open one of the most severe wounds of post-war Kosovo, i.e. the issue of the missing persons,” she added.
The Kosovo FM accused Serb officials of distancing themselves from their “criminal past.”
“There can be no dialogue or a final agreement with a state that continues to refuse apologizing for the crimes against humanity committed in Kosovo and continues to conceal the committed genocide. The international community should look into Raska and other mass graves in Serbia and not remain silent in the face of internationally recognized facts that prove Serbia’s responsibility before international justice for all crimes, massacres and genocide committed in Kosovo.”
On the other hand, she praised the Commission for Missing Persons and the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Pristina – which have been working together with Serb authorities on finding and identifying the remains of the missing in Raska.
“We owe it to Kosovo, to mother Ferdonije from Gjakova and all mothers and families of the missing persons, to do everything within our power and not leave a stone unturned until we have shed light on the fate of their loved ones,” Stubla said, adding:
“The continuation of Serbia’s impunity policy continues to remain a stain for international justice.”
On Wednesday, just a few hours before Stubla’s statement was issued, the president of the Commission for Missing Persons of the Government of Serbia, Veljko Odalovic confirmed for KoSSev that remains were found in the quarry in Kizevik near Raska. It is suspected that the remains could belong to 15 persons from Kosovo who have been listed as missing since the end of the war, he added.
„For now, the remains of bodies remain unidentified. Their identity will be confirmed when a DNA analysis is completed,“ he said.
Odalovic added that the works on this location, which has been the subject of inspection for the past five years, are currently suspended pending a court decision.
Both Odalovic and the president of the Commission for Missing Persons in Pristina, Kushtrim Gara confirmed for KoSSev that excavations are expected to begin soon at several locations in Kosovo.
According to Gara, the Kosovo Special Prosecutor’s Office has already issued orders, and excavations will be carried out at those locations in the coming days.
This Commission, in cooperation with the Pristina institutions, has processed six locations in Kosovo in the last three months, where at least nine sets of human remains have been found. Out of the six processed locations, four are located in the Muslim cemetery in North Mitrovica.
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