Meeting between Pristina and Belgrade on the issue of exhumations fails

Meeting between Pristina and Belgrade on the issue of exhumations fails

Delegation of the Republic of Kosovo will not participate in the meeting scheduled to take place on March 14, 2014, in Rashka, as the Serb side cancelled the agenda between the sides, which also included international officials

Pristina, March 14, 2014/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Albana Skenderaj

Delegation of the Republic Kosovo for the talks with the Delegation of Serbia on the issue of missing people, has decided not to travel to Serbia in order to participate today (14.03) in the meeting scheduled for “Rashka” case, an official of the government of Kosovo confirmed for IBNA.

The decision comes as a result of a change in the position of the Serb side, which a few hours before the start of the scheduled meeting, cancelled it without providing any reasons, said today (14.03) the government of Kosovo in a press statement.

How was the meeting scheduled

Three days ago (11.03) a government meeting took place with all international representatives involved in this process. The meeting harmonized the positions and came up with joint conclusions. Delegation of Kosovo proposed to the Serb authorities to first hold a comprehensive meeting between parties and international actors, in order to draft a ‘Comprehensive project and the action plan on the Rashka case’, including the agreement of the sides over the necessary budget expenses to resume and finalize exhumations and further professional procedures over this case.

Such meeting was thought to precede the meeting between experts, which would discuss professional medical and legal issues.

After this, the Serb authorities informed about the cancellation of the meeting which was going to discuss the comprehensive project and the action plan on the case of Rashka, which confirmed the existence of massive graves of Albanians.

Pristina’s reaction was strong: “This change in the positioning of the Serb authorities, in spite of our engagement with all international partners in the joint effort for Rashka case to head into the right direction, takes Serbia back in the past, in its efforts to conceal the traces of a genocide crime”.

“These efforts of the Serb side to delay the start of excavation and exhumation in order to shed light upon the Rasha case, have accompanied this process for years, in spite of the numerous requests accompanied with evidence, submitted by the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo and international partners, who are engaged in shedding light upon the fate of people who went missing during the war in Kosovo”.

Government of Kosovo calls on Serb authorities and demands international community to put pressure on Belgrade in order to “offer more information over the fate and location of the people who went missing during the war”.

Pristina also calls on Belgrade “to change its strategy and not delay further procedures on the Rashka case, which without any doubt is one of the biggest tragedies which affects not only the families of the missing people, but all of Kosovo”.

The excavations (photo) in the suspected massive grave in Rashka, Serbia, have resulted positive last December. The head of the legal medical department of Kosovo, Arsim Gerxhaliu, coroners have encountered skeletons, clothes and remains of the victims killed in the last war in Kosovo.

“We don’t know how many bodies can be found there, but according to the words of Bruno Vekaric, Serb general prosecutor for war crimes, there are 250 to 450 victims”, says Gerxhaliu.

Deputy prime minister of Kosovo, Edita Tahiri has launched criticism about the delay of excavations.

“Government of Serbia has ordered the construction of a building over the massive graveyard in order to cover the traces of genocide perpetrated against the people of Kosovo”, says Tahiri.

As far as this case is concerned, ambassador of Switzerland, Mrs. Krystyna Marty Lang says that international support is important in this project which will shed light upon new facts on missing people. She has expressed her will to support with donations by stressing that such project must have the agreement of all sides in order for support to be possible. /ibna/