27th of April 2017 On the commemoration of the national day of missing persons, marking the anniversary of the most tragic day of the Kosovo war, the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) Kosovo expresses its support to the families and friends of the 1,650 individuals still missing in Kosovo, and more largely to those of the 10,000 missing persons from the ex – Yugoslav wars. This day offers the opportunity to call for a greater involvement from competent institutions to intensify the search and be more committed in the tracking, location, and identification of the body remains.
Moreover, following on the recent commitment by the President of Kosovo to create a national commission for truth and reconciliation, HLC Kosovo finds it crucial to recall the importance of a regional approach to the search for truth and missing persons. Incomplete regional cooperation has already been acknowledged as the main impediment to the establishment of the fate of the disappeared by many different stakeholders, including the ICRC, the EU, and the Council of Europe. HLC Kosovo has repeatedly called for this issue to be included on the agenda of the Brussels Dialogue. 353 mortal remains from the victims of the Meja massacre that is commemorated today were found in Batajnica mass grave in 2002/2003, located on the territory of Serbia. This illustrates the reality of the search for the truth about missing persons, which cannot be limited to national borders, and therefore cannot be delivered via a national body.
Since 2008 the Coalition for RECOM has been advocating for the formation of a regional-wide commission for the establishment of facts about the war crimes in the former-Yugoslav countries. HLC Kosovo calls for continuous public backing to this regional initiative and for increasing political will to support it. Only RECOM can provide the platform under which the regional cooperation needed to identify remaining missing victims can take place. RECOM also bears the potential to promote a regional understanding of the conflicts of the Balkans, thereby facilitating a regional dialogue favorable to the EU accession process.
Pupils of Eqrem Çabej gymnasium in Vushtrri followed a workshop on dealing with the past on the 24th of April...