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The Missing: new dynamics required to achieve further progress

29-06-2007 News Release

The Working Group on missing persons held its seventh session in Pristina on 29 June.

 The following was issued as a press release by the ICRC's regional delegation in Belgrade on 29 June 2007.  


Mr. Francois Stamm, the Chair of the Working Group stated that since the start of the process, three years ago, the fate and whereabouts of about a third of the total number of persons reported missing has been elucidated. However, he warned that " the work lying ahead of us will be much more difficult since very little new concrete and reliable information on the fate and whereabouts of missing persons is forthcoming. Efforts of all concerned should intensify in the search for such new information " . 

A new dynamics needs to be created within the Working Group mechanism. The Working Group members have called on permanent observers from the international community and representatives of the families of the missing to play a more active and constructive role in the Working Group process.

Mr. Stamm has called on the highest authorities in Pristina and Belgrade to reconfirm their commitment, taken at the very beginning of the process, to cooperate through the Working Group mechanism on this important humanitarian issue. No efforts must be spared in search for information on the fate and whereabouts of missing persons. 

Since the last meeting of the Working Group, on 31 May 2006 in Belgrade, 259 persons, previously unaccounted, have been confirmed dead and their remains returned to the families . According to the working group list, 2,047 people are currently unaccounted for. 

Set up in March 2004, the Working Group seeks to elucidate the fate of persons unaccounted for in connection with the events that took place in Kosovo between January 1998 and December 2000, and address the needs of their families. It is chaired by the ICRC in its capacity of neutral intermediary and meets under the auspices of the UN Secretary General's Special Representative for Kosovo.

For further information, please contact:
  Idriz Gashi, ICRC Pristina, tel: 038 228 400 or Mob ++377 44 168 848
  Gordana Milenkovic, ICRC Belgrade, tel: 011 3441 522
  Vincent Lusser, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 24 26 or +41 79 217 32 64