Head of ICRC Delegation to BiH Visits ICMP

During a visit to the facilities of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Tuzla today, the Head of Delegation of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Henry Fournier and ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger, jointly called on the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) to act in accordance with the BiH Law on Missing Persons and provide relatives of missing with long awaited answers.
While Bosnia and Herzegovina has made significant strides in addressing the issue of persons missing from the conflicts in BiH by creating the Missing Persons Institute (MPI) and the Law on Missing Persons, there are still approximately 13,000 persons missing from the conflicts. In addition, the Law on Missing Persons has yet to be implemented. The MPI is a state level institution that is co-founded by the BiH Council of Ministers and the ICMP. “The State has to ensure that the MPI is fully functional this year, so that persons are searched for regardless of their national, ethnic or religious origin”, said Ms. Bomberger and Mr. Fournier in joint statement.
“In addition to the implementation of the Law of Missing Persons, the Fund for Support of Families of Missing Persons has to be established to secure financial means for securing rights of missing persons family members”, said Ms. Bomberger and Mr. Fournier in a joint statement to the media.
They also stressed that “the issue of missing persons remains one of the biggest human right issues facing BiH and sustainable institutions such as MPI and the Law on Missing Persons are absolutely necessary for Bosnia to carry on this work in the years to come.” They added, “Bosnia and Herzegovina must accelerate search for missing persons in order to restore their dignity and provide a sense of closure to their families.”
Mr. Fournier visited ICMP’s facility where mortal remains from Srebrenica are identified and the center where all blood samples collected by ICMP from relatives of the missing and all bone samples received from government authorities are archived and sent to ICMP labs for DNA-led analysis. Last week, ICMP set a daily record by generating 60 DNA match reports, of which 43 were of different individuals and out which 20 are victims of the fall of Srebrenica in July 1995. In addition, last week, ICMP made its 4,000th identification of persons missing from Srebrenica.
In less than five years, the ICMP has assisted in identifying over 11,000 persons missing from the recent conflicts in the region, of which 9,000 are from BiH. These numbers account for over half of the total number originally missing. This remarkable achievement was accomplished in close cooperation with families of the missing and local authorities. Identifying the missing through scientifically reliable methods has not only brought long-awaited answers to distraught communities, but contributes to the process of truth and reconciliation, which are essential elements in building peace and stability in the region.