“what with the (un)accounted for?!”

27 August 2019, Emerald Hotel, Pristina

‘When families of the missing persons work together across all communities in enlightening the fate of their loved ones, it’s only then when they’ll be able to get the full attention from the national governments and the international community.’ The MPRC has reached the level of trust of families only because it manages to address the issue of the missing persons by bringing together the families of the missing from all different ethnic or religious backgrounds and act jointly.

Families of the missing persons are grateful to institutions for solving over 70% of missing persons’ cases, but while understanding the complexities involved, they remain concerned with the lack of progress made since then in finding the remaining missing persons. The last 5-6 years are largely considered as a negative trend in institutional efforts in enlightening the fate of the missing persons. The issue of the missing persons during this period has been largely addressed by the international community, while the national institutions continue to face difficulties in collaboration at all levels, in working with families, inter-institutionally and at regional, cross-border level cooperation. Politicization of the issue of the missing persons must be avoided at all cost, and governments must be held accountable at all times.

The following pending issues are a reminder of commitments and obligations that have yet to be fulfilled:   

  1. The persistent gap in implementation of the obligations and commitments stemming from the joint recommendations of the Conference of 30th August 2017 concerning the establishment and functionalization of the Task Force on Missing Persons; and of the joint declaration of the London Summit of 2018;  
  2. The ‘Right to Know’ is an elementary right of fundamental importance to the families of the missing persons. Families of the missing demand for greater transparency and to be kept informed in regular basis, even when there’s no progress made. The current level of transparency and information sharing is of concern as families must still ‘chase’ the institutions for any information regarding the missing persons;
  3. Most of municipalities still lack any initiative or plans in addressing the needs of the missing persons’ families;
  4. There are still cases when bodies of missing persons have been verified, but are yet to be released to the families. The promise of the Institute of Forensic Medicine to release the two verified bodies kept in the Morgue of Pristina must be fulfilled with no further delays;
  5. Lack of inter-institutional cooperation has already resulted in suspension of substantial EU funding aimed at enlightening the fate of the missing persons. Kosovo is in no position to afford such loss of support and funding, especially when concerning the missing persons, knowing that the lack of progress in this area also affects Kosovo’s aspirations to join the EU.  

Its issues like this, mostly of technical nature and easily solvable that result in loss of trust of families of the missing in the willingness of the responsible institutions to address the issue of the missing persons comprehensively.

The MPRC remains committed and will follow closely the developments and flag the gaps such as these at every given opportunity locally and internationally, until fully addressed by the responsible institutions.