The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the Government of Croatia agreed Tuesday to launch a joint campaign to collect blood samples from families of persons missing as a result of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. Some 25,000 persons are still missing in the region, including many from the Republic of Croatia.Under the terms of an agreement signed in Zagreb on Tuesday between the ICMP and the Croatian Ministry of the Family, Veterans’ Affairs and Intergenerational Solidarity (MOBMS), joint Ministry and ICMP teams will collect blood samples from family members of the missing at locations around Croatia during two weekends, beginning November 20, 2004. The Ministry and ICMP are urging family members who have not already given blood samples to take part in this campaign.
At the signing of the Agreement, Assistant Minister of MOBMS, Ivan Grujić, who signed on behalf of the Croatian Government, said, “This project will help to resolve outstanding cases of missing persons, not only in Croatia, but also from the entire region, through the use of the DNA system of identifications.”
“We have worked closely with all governments of the region in trying to resolve the issue of missing persons, and we are pleased with this latest agreement with the Government of Croatia,” noted Adam Boys, who signed the Agreement on behalf of ICMP. “This joint project is a major step forward,” he added.
The blood samples will be used to find DNA profiles of family members, which will be compared to DNA profiles taken from bone samples of remains of missing persons found in grave sites throughout the region of the former Yugoslavia. The campaign will be officially launched next week, when details of the blood collection sites will be announced.