news 16 Feb 17

Kosovo Mass Grave Search Reveals No Bodies

The excavation of a suspected mass grave under a mosque in the divided northern Kosovo town of Mitrovica did not yield any human remains.

Die Morina
The excavation in North Mitrovica on Thursday. Photo: BIRN.

The director of Kosovo Forensics, Arsim Gerxhaliu, said on Thursday that investigators had dug down two metres under the mosque in Mitrovica but did not find a suspected mass grave or any human remains.

“Anyway, we will try the other side of the mosque also,” Gerxhaliu said.

Missing persons’ relatives suspect that bodies of people killed during the war might have been buried under the mosque next to the bridge over the River Ibar, which divides Mitrovica between its ethnic Albanian and Serb sectors.

A representative of the missing persons’ families, Bajram Qerkini, said that there were witnesses who have said that there is a mass grave at the site.

“There are eyewitnesses who believe that two vanloads of people entered here and they never saw them coming out,” said Qerkini.

A forensics expert from the Serbian government’s missing persons commission, Suzana Matejic, was also present at the excavation.

“This is a very difficult process and all those who are dealing with this, seeking the truth wherever it might be, that means excavating in each location about which there is information that we could find any missing persons,” said Matejic.

There have been claims that there is a mass grave at the site since the war ended in 1999, but the excavation only started now due to the troubled political situation in northern Kosovo.

A total of 1,666 people are still listed as missing from the war, both Serbs and Albanians, but the issue has not yet been on the table during dialogue in Brussels aimed at resolving the disputes between Pristina and Belgrade.

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