UN announces start of DNA-testing of exhumed bodies in Kosovo

UN announces start of DNA-testing of exhumed bodies in Kosovo

The United Nations today announced that, for the first time, exhumed bodies in Kosovo will undergo a large-scale DNA-led identification process, so that survivors can find out what happened to their missing family members.

The new initiative announced today in Pristina by the head of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), Michael Steiner, and the head of the International Commission on Missing Persons, Gordon Bacon, will seek to find matches between blood samples collected from family members and the DNA of exhumed bodies. The DNA identification process is expected to continue into early next year.

“The families of the missing have already had to wait a long time for answers,” said Mr. Bacon, adding that now more of them “will have closure.”

The ground was prepared for the project in 2000 when family members with missing loved ones began donating blood samples to be matched against exhumed bodies. More than half of the over 5,500 samples donated by family members have been DNA tested logged into a database.