Manaj: The identification of remains found in nine sites in Kosovo and Kizevak is underway

FOTO: Veljko Odalović

The identification process of – as it is presumed – 16 sets of remains found last year at ten locations as part of the search for missing persons from Kosovo is underway. Apart from the site in Kizevak, the remains from the other nine locations were exhumed on the territory of Kosovo. The samples were sent for DNA analysis to the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) immediately after the exhumation, but no answers have arrived so far, the chairman of the Kosovo government’s Commission on Missing Persons, Rame Manaj, confirmed for KoSSev today.

Pristina media reported this morning that the remains found on November 17th last year in Kizevak near Raska were sent to the International Commission on Missing Persons and that analysis results are expected to arrive soon.

However, samples of the remains, both those found in Kizevak and nine other locations on the territory of Kosovo, which were also found last year, were sent to this commission. The identification of all sets of remains is now pending.

According to Manaj, this is a standard procedure immediately after the exhumation, regardless of whether the remains were found in Belgrade or Pristina.

„Samples are immediately sent to the International Commission on Missing Persons, and then there is a possibility for them to be returned for identification and verification in Belgrade or Pristina. They perform bone analyzes, then those analyzes are compared with blood analyzes, and then the identity is determined,“ Manaj told KoSSev.

The remains found in Kizevak are still in Belgrade, and only samples were sent to the international commission, confirmed Manaj.

Manaj was still unable to confirm exactly how many sets of remains were found in Kizevak last year. It is suspected that approximately 5 to 6 sets of remains have been found.

New excavations will be carried out at this location this year as well, once the weather conditions improve.

„This will be determined jointly by experts from Kosovo and Serbia,“ Manaj added.

Apart from Kizevak, the Pristina Commission on Missing Persons expects excavations in other parts of Serbia as well – namely in the village of Stavalj, near Sjenica.

Pristina expressed suspicion that the remains of people who went missing during the Kosovo conflict are also hidden at this location. Manaj revealed that they are waiting for the approval of the Commission on Missing Persons from Belgrade.

„We visited that site together, we are expecting some more data and we will see if the excavations will be allowed and when,“ he said.

In addition to excavations on the territory of central Serbia, excavations were also carried out on the territory of Kosovo.

In 2020, nine locations in Kosovo were excavated, including North Mitrovica and locations near Istok, and it is presumed that 11 sets of remains were exhumed on those occasions.

These samples were also sent to the International Commission on Missing Persons, and DNA analyzes are pending, Manaj confirmed.

In February this year, excavations were launched at the city cemetery in Djakovica/ Gjakova, where remains were also found. New excavations are expected to be carried out at this location.

When asked whether the Government of Serbia sent requests to Pristina for excavations on the territory of Kosovo and whether they were approved, Manaj revealed that the action plan for 2021 is being prepared, but that there are such requests.

„There are requests from the Government of Serbia, we will certainly include those requests as well. But the action plan has not been adopted yet,“ he said, adding that he could not provide additional details about further excavations.

At the beginning of February, the remains of a Serb volunteer soldier, Zoran Veselic, who died on April 19th, 1999, were buried at Maja Glava in Kosare. His remains were found late last year and taken over in Pristina in early February.

Previously, it was Manaj who told the Pristina media that the Serb delegation visited Kosare on October 4th, searching for the bodies of soldiers killed during the Kosovo war.

The same allegations were then presented by the President of the Commission on Missing Persons of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, Veljko Odalovic. He revealed that they also visited Pristina at the time, where they „shared the information they have with the authorities“.

As he announced at the time, a total of about 570 people are on this commission’s list of missing persons, 24 of whom are soldiers, six of them from Kosare.

Read more:

After Serbia confirmed a mass grave was found in Raska, Kosovo FM makes accusations: Serbia is covering up crimes

Gara: Nine sets of human remains found in 3 months in Kosovo, excavations carried out in North Mitrovica

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