From: Die Morina van Uijtregt
Excavation in Mass Graves Found in Serbia will Continue in Spring

Excavations in southwestern Serbia where five mass graves containing human remains believed to belong to victims of the war in Kosovo were found, will stop on Friday due to weather conditions.

Director of Kosovo’s Forensic, Arsim Gerxhaliu said during a televised interview for Prishtina- based KTV on Wednesday evening that rain made it impossible for the teams to continue working until spring.

“The site has been conserved with a plastic mass, which actually covers that part of the soil and tightens it[…] Professional teams from Serbia, EULEX, the Red Cross, the International Committee for Missing Persons and our team, together we decided to stop the work on Friday, as it is impossible to work and continue in the spring “, Gerxhaliu said.

He said that by spring, it will be possible to know the origin of the mortal remains identified in Kizevak.

“We will have the first identifications before we start work in the spring so we will know the exact location of where they come from,” Gerxhaliu said.

He added that the procedure to identify the victims might take two months.

He also announced that in spring excavations will also start in a location in North Mitrovica, in Kosovo.

Gerxhaliu explained that in three occasions there were 79 bodies found.

“Bajram Cerkini from the Parents’ Voice [association] brought a report which he could have through different ways and the place of buried persons is marked with centimeters,” Arsim Gerxhaliu said, adding that missing persons’ associations contributed a lot but the institutions did not use the information properly.

He added that during these 21 years of dealing with missing persons and mass graves, Kosovo institutions did not provide proper support.

“He [the current Minister of Justice, Selim Selimi] is the eighth minister I work with. Only few of them have shown interest [towards the issue].”

Excavation in Kizevak, near the Kosovo border town, Raska started in 2015 by both Kosovo and Serbia teams, but they were intensified in the last weeks after mortal remains were confirmed on November 16.

Identification of the exact location was possible through aerial images from 1999.