Today, Kosovo marks the national day of missing persons and, on this occasion, EULEX takes the opportunity to remember those who have gone missing and the plight of their families. EULEX remains committed to help solve the issue of the missing.
“EULEX is here to help Kosovo institutions move forward while dealing with issues from the past, including the identification of missing persons. The more time passes, the harder the identification process gets, but as long as we are here, we will never give up,” said EULEX Head of Mission Alexandra Papadopoulou.
Accounting for the approximately 1665 remaining missing persons continues to be a EULEX priority. And while the nature of the identification process is sensitive, complicated and time consuming, it is vital that the process continues in order to find answers on the whereabouts fate of the missing. “Families have a right to know and an accurate identification can provide relief and possibly a closure to a painful past for those left behind,” Ms. Papadopoulou said.
EULEX takes this opportunity to urge families who have not yet done so to cooperate with relevant authorities, for example by providing blood samples for DNA analysis, which at this stage is a very important means of identification.
And while EULEX remains committed to the search and identification of the missing, it also works to build local capacity within the Institute of Forensic Medicine in preparation for a responsible transfer of executive functions in this area.
Since the mission deployed in December 2008, the remains of 494 victims have been returned to their families. These were a result of intensive field work counting over 566 field operations and nearly 2196 DNA samples analyzed.