Photo: Aferdita Fejzullahu/BIRN.

Second excavation to take place at university campus

An excavation searching for human remains from the Kosovo war on the campus of the University of Prishtina will take place on Tuesday, the second search on university grounds in three years.

Arsim Gerxhaliu, the head of Kosovo’s Institute of Forensic Medicine, has confirmed to BIRN that an excavation will take place on the campus of the University of Prishtina on Tuesday, with digging beginning at 9:00. Preparations began today with paving stones being removed in the parking lot for the Faculty of Arts.

Gerxhaliu stated that the operation is part of the search for those still missing following the Kosovo war, and is being carried out under the instruction of prosecutor Drita Hajdari from the Kosovo Special Prosecution Office.

“We have new information that something is believed to be there, as residents have claimed that they saw excavators working during the night [in wartime],” Gerxhalliu told BIRN, adding that acting on any new information should be considered a high priority for the Forensics Institute, in order to shed light on the whereabouts of the more than 1,600 people still missing from the Kosovo war. 

It is not the first time the grounds of the university campus have been searched for wartime remains. In 2016, forensic officials searched for a mass grave near the Serbian Orthodox church on the campus, construction of which began in the 1990s but was never completed. After two days of excavation, no remains were found and the Special Prosecution closed the case.

Mass graves containing the bodies of more than 1,000 Kosovo Albanians killed during the war have previously been found in four locations in Serbia – at a police training center in the Belgrade suburb of Batajnica, in Lake Perucac, at the firing range of a police training center in Petrovo Selo and at the Rudnica quarry near the town of Raska.

Since 2002, the Institute of Forensic Medicine has been conducting investigations, excavations and exhumations of human remains from the Kosovo war, more recently in cooperation with the EULEX Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, and is responsible for the return of remains to their family members following identification. In 2019, the Institute have conducted five different excavations, while between June 2018 and October 2019, 15 missing persons have been identified, 10 of which appear on the official list of missing persons. 

25/11/2019 - 13:56


25 November 2019 - 13:56

Prishtina Insight is a digital and print magazine published by BIRN Kosovo, an independent, non-governmental organisation. To find out more about the organization please visit the official website. Copyright © 2016 BIRN Kosovo.