Two more sets of remains found at Kizevak mass grave have been identified

FOTO: Veljko Odalović

The Kosovo Prime Minister, Albin Kurti announced today that the results of DNA analysis of two sets of remains found last year at the Kizevak site near Raska have arrived. Kurti also revealed that it has been confirmed that the remains belong to war victims.

The head of the unit of the Kosovo Commission on Missing Persons, Kushtrim Gara, confirmed this information in a statement for KoSSev.

„Based on the bone samples that were exhumed last year from the mass grave in Kizevak and which were sent for DNA analysis, it has been confirmed that these bones belong to the victims of the Kosovo war. So far, two new identifications have been completed,“ Gara said.

„There are connections between the mass graves of Kizevak and Rudnica. Therefore, based on the identifications made so far, it has been confirmed that the remains belong to the victims who were killed by the Serbian military forces in the massacre in Rezala,“ Gara said in a written response.

The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti attended the marking of the 22nd anniversary of the crime in Rezala today.

He revealed in a Facebook post that the first DNA analyzes of the exhumed human remains found in Kizevak near Raska arrived on the anniversary of this crime.

„Exactly on this anniversary, we received information that based on bone samples that were exhumed from a mass grave in Kizevak last year and sent for DNA analysis, it was confirmed that these bones belong to the victims of the war in Kosovo. So far, there are two new identifications and we contacted the families of the identified persons,“ Kurti said.

He also added that the Kizevak site is linked with the one in Rudnica, which is also located in the municipality of Raska.

„We are waiting for other persons, victims of the massacre in Rezala, who are on the missing person list, to be found in Kizevak. However, this will be made known after the excavations and exhumations at that location are completed, and when all the necessary forensic medical examinations are done,“ Kurti said in a Facebook post.

Excavations – to locate the bodies of the persons who went missing in 1999 in Kosovo – were carried out at a total of ten locations last year, nine of which were in Kosovo and one in Serbia – Kizevak. The excavations were suspended at the end of last year after the weather conditions worsened.

It is presumed that a total of 16 sets of remains were found at these sites, 5 to 6 of which were found in Kizevak, Rame Manaj, the president of the Kosovo Commission on Missing Persons, recently confirmed for KoSSev.

As Manaj stated at the time, samples of all bodies were sent for DNA analysis to the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) immediately after the exhumation, after which they waited for their response.

The KoSSev portal attempted to find out more details about the allegations presented by the Kosovo Prime Minister from the representatives of the Belgrade Commission on Missing Persons.

The President of the Commission on Missing Persons of the Government of Serbia, Veljko Odalovic has not reponded to our query yet.

At the same time, the Government of Serbia’s website on the missing persons contains no information on the identification of human remains found in Kizevak.

Excavations to continue in 2021

The director of the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Pristina, Arsim Gerxhaliu, recently announced that excavations would be carried out at three locations, as well as excavations that are also planned for near Sjenica.

At the end of last year, the President of the Commission on Missing Persons of the Government of Serbia, Veljko Odalovic, also confirmed the possibility that excavations will be carried out at other locations in central Serbia.

Odalovic told reporters at the time that three locations would be investigated at the request of Kosovo.

„There is one location that is connected to Kizevak, near Rudnica. The next is Kozarevo, which is located between Raska and Novi Pazar, and the third is the location in the vicinity of Sjenica – in the immediate vicinity of the Stavalj mine. We received this information from Pristina and agreed to check these locations,“ Odalovic said at the time.

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