Serbia unearths mass grave from Kosovo war

KIZEVAK, Serbia (Reuters) - Human remains believed to be the bodies of over a dozen ethnic Albanians killed during the 1998-99 war in Kosovo have been found just inside Serbia, a Serbian official said on Friday.

More than two decades after the conflict in Kosovo ended, the search for the victims remains a major obstacle to the improvement of relations between Belgrade and Pristina.

The investigators used satellite imagery to find the mass grave in a remote open-cast mine at Kizevak in Serbia's south.

Their findings suggested that there could be up to 17 bodies, Veljko Odalovic, the head of Serbia's Commission for Missing Persons, told reporters.

Forensics expert Suzana Matejic said further investigation would be hampered in the short term by fast-approaching winter and coronavirus restrictions.

More than 13,000 people are believed to have died during the war in Kosovo, Serbia's former southern province. The fighting ended in 1999 after NATO air strikes against the now-defunct Yugoslavia. Most of the victims were ethnic Albanians and hundreds are still missing.

Ibrahim Makolli, Kosovo's representative for the missing persons, said it should be a priority to find those responsible for the deaths, adding: "They should receive the punishment they deserve."

The investigation that led to the discovery was an effort by Serbia, Kosovo, the International Committee of the Red Cross and EULEX, the EU's justice and police mission in Kosovo.

The largest mass grave from the war found so far, containing the bodies of more than 800 Kosovo Albanians, was found in 2001 in a police compound near Belgrade.

Kosovo declared independence in 2008, but Belgrade refuses to recognise it. Serbia has applied to be a member of the European Union and Kosovo also wants to be part of the EU, but the two must normalise ties before either can join.

(Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 18
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

Did you find this article insightful?


Next In World

Portugal's health system on brink of collapse as COVID-19 cases surge
Guatemalan forces clash with migrant caravan, Biden team seeks to halt exodus
Israel registers 5,825 new COVID-19 cases, totaling 547,689
Seven in 10 Greeks willing to get vaccinated against COVID-19
Morocco's COVID-19 tally rises to 459,671 with 806 new cases
In final Trump administration days, Israel approves new settler homes
Tunisia authorities arrest 240 after protests around country
Update: 2 dead, 6 rescued in freight ship sinking off Turkey's Black Sea coast
Israel's leading airline to resume domestic flights "to support tourism amid COVID-19"
Sweden continues to use remdesivir for COVID-19 treatment despite WHO advice: report

Stories You'll Enjoy