Friday, November 25, 2005

Serbia returns Albanian bodies to Kosovo

MERDARE -- Friday – Officials from the Serbia-Montenegro Missing Persons Commission have turned over the remains of bodies exhumed from the mass grave in Batajnica to UNMIK officials.

According to Commission President Gvozden Gagic, 37 bodies have been handed over, and other body parts of four unidentified Albanians who were killed during the 1999 war in Kosovo were given to the UNMIK forces as well.

“Even though the identifications have not been completed yet, we are handing over the bodies because of the pressure we have been receiving from representatives of the families of Kosovo Albanians and UNMIK who say that we are slowing down the identification process.” Gagic said.

He wanted to make it clear that the individual bodies that were found in the mass graves in Batajnica could not have been identified right away because many were found torn to pieces.

The 37 bodies will be taken to an autopsy centre in Orahovac[Rahoves], where the identification process will be completed with help from the information already gathered at the Belgrade Institute of Medicine. The bodies will then be handed over to the families of the victims.

A total of 658 identified bodies of Kosovo Albanians found at mass grave sites in Central Serbia, have been handed over to UNMIK. There are still 140 bodies that have yet to be identified. B92

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