EU mission helps Kosovo with database on war crimes

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — The European Union’s mission in Kosovo said Monday it has assisted the country’s police in developing a database to help investigate war crimes.

The EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, or EULEX, reconfigured its mandate in 2018 and handed over all its files, including around 400 war crime cases, to the government.

A statement said the tool, for which three years of work were needed, enables investigators to organize vast amounts of data, investigate complex and interconnected war crimes cases, and successfully prepare them for prosecution.

More than 10,000 mainly ethnic Albanians were killed and more than 1,600 are still missing from the 1998-1999 war.

The Kosovo Police War Crimes Unit has opened investigations for all missing persons’ cases.

“We hope that by linking missing persons’ cases to existing war crimes investigations, the number of women, men and children from all communities still unaccounted for will be further reduced and their relatives will obtain justice and reparation.” said EULEX war crimes analyst Roland Burgsteiner, who helped develop the database.

The 1998-1999 war in Kosovo, then a Serbian province, ended after a NATO military intervention that forced Serbia to withdraw its forces. The United Nations administered the territory for nine years before Kosovo declared independence in 2008, a move that Serbia doesn’t recognize.

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