News 08 Jan 13

Kosovo Warned Over Missing Persons Probes

A Kosovo campaign group has urged the authorities not to play ethnic politics while investigating wartime missing persons cases.

Edona Peci

The Council for the Protection of Human Freedoms and Rights in Kosovo said the authorities should investigate the issue of people who’ve been missing since the war “regardless of their ethnicity” and should bring to justice “all those who contributed to the disappearance of those people”.

“Those who are responsible for their disappearance should not be convicted or amnestied because of their ethnicity,” the campaign group said in its statement.

More than 1,700 people have been missing since the conflict in Kosovo ended in 1999.

The statement came two days after relatives of missing people and some non-governmental organisations staged a protest to highlight the issue during a ceremony at a Serbian Orthodox church in the town of Gjakova.

The issue was also on the table last month at a meeting between Kosovo’s prime minister, Hashim Thaci, and his Serbian counterpart, Ivica Dacic.

During the EU-sponsored talks, the two premiers agreed “to intensify cooperation between the respective commissions for missing persons”.

But the Council for the Protection of Human Freedoms and Rights accused the EU of using the issue as a political tool to bring Belgrade and Pristina together for talks “which have lasted for years without providing any results”.

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