10 March 2015: Upholding the rule of law is key to sustaining the effort to account for the missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina as the country approaches the 20th anniversary of the end of the war, participants at a roundtable in Tuzla agreed today.
The roundtable, organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), brought together representatives of family associations and the authorities as well as academic and legal experts to discuss ways of increasing the effectiveness of efforts to account for the missing.
Participants noted that prosecuting war criminals and searching for their victims is not something that affects just families of the missing: it affects everyone, because if criminals walk free, citizens cannot rely on the protection of the law, and – in practical terms – if criminals walk free they will not be obliged to give up whatever information they may possess regarding the fate of those…
ICMP’s Daily World News Digest brings together news stories dealing with enforced disappearances and missing persons cases from around the world. It offers a snapshot of daily events and over a longer period it highlights key trends.
Migration and Missing Persons
In February, the number of migrants who are lost on the dangerous journey from North Africa and the Middle East to Europe was a major theme. On 9 February the BBC reported that at least 27 people died of hypothermia after being picked up near the Italian island of Lampedusa. They were part of a group of more than a hundred who were found adrift in an inflatable boat about 160 kilometres from Lampedusa. The rescue vessel did not have facilities to protect the migrants from the elements. This, and reports later in February, drew attention to the impact of the decision late last year to replace Italy’s “Mare…
Representatives of associations of families of missing persons, the BiH Missing Persons Institute, the BiH Prosecutor’s Office, and the BiH Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees came together in a series of Town Hall meetings held throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina in February to discuss steps that must be taken in order to sustain the search for missing persons.
The meetings, organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Tuzla (3 February), Brcko (4 February), Sarajevo (10 February), Mostar (12 February) and Banja Luka (17 February), focused on the recommendations contained in BiH, Missing Persons from the Armed Conflicts of the 1990s: A Stocktaking, published by ICMP in December 2014 The book-length Stocktaking Report brings together for the first time all of the relevant information on two decades of efforts to account for the missing. It examines specific issues in Lower Podrinje, Upper Podrinje, Herzegovina, Sarajevo, Posavina, Central Bosnia,…
Bojana Djokanovic examines gender roles in conflict, the ways in which these roles are perceived, and the corresponding impact that conflict has on men and women.
To rebuild societies after conflict and to achieve lasting peace, it is imperative that women become active participants in decision-making.
The experiences of women in dealing with war – and with the legacy of war – differ greatly from those of men.
Customarily, men are combatants – and in most conflicts they account for the overwhelming majority of combat casualties and missing in action; historically, men are more likely than women to be in positions of political and military authority before and during conflict, and men are more likely to negotiate peace.
Women often assume the role of principal breadwinner and head of household when husbands leave home to join (or escape from) the military; and women are overwhelmingly more likely to be victims of sexual violence.
Banja Luka, 17 February 2015: The authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina have to engage more actively in the process of accounting for missing persons, speakers at a Town Hall meeting organized in Banja Luka by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) said today.
“The state of BiH is still not showing sufficient effort in providing a solution for this joint problem,” said Milutin Misic, a member of the collegium of directors of the BiH Missing Persons Institute (MPI). “There must be state accountability. One of the obstacles in the process of search and identification is a lack of information – the problem lies in the fact that those who are obliged to give information are not providing it, even though they are legally obliged to do so.”
The meeting brought together representatives of associations of families of missing persons, the MPI, the BiH Prosecutor’s Office, and the BiH Ministry for…
Mostar, 12 February 2015: The BiH Missing Persons Institute (MPI) is producing remarkable results, Sanja Mulać of the MPI said today at a Town Hall meeting organized by ICMP in Mostar.
“I want to stress that despite the MPI’s limitations, a majority of persons that were registered as missing in Herzegovina at the end of the conflict have been found and identified and we remain committed and we are continuing to work on this process,” Ms Mulać said, adding that “This can be seen by the extraordinary results made during the process of revision of post-mortem remains from Sutina mortuary.”
The meeting brought together representatives of associations of families of missing persons, the MPI, the BiH Prosecutor’s Office, and the BiH Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees to discuss what has been done to resolve missing persons issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina so far, and what has to be done in…
10 February 2015: The BiH Prosecutor’s Office is committed to the work of searching and identifying missing persons, Deputy Chief Prosecutor Gordana Tadic said today, pointing out that since 2013 the number of prosecutors working on missing persons cases has grown from one to 35.
Ms Tadic was speaking at a Town Hall meeting organized by ICMP at the Hotel Sarajevo in Sarajevo. The meeting brought together representatives of associations of families of missing persons, the BiH Missing Persons Institute (MPI), the BiH Prosecutor’s Office, and the BiH Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees to discuss what has been done to resolve missing persons issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina so far, and what has to be done in the future.
Ema Cekic, from the Association of Families of Missing Persons, Vogosca, called for a common approach by BIH institutions, including the MPI and the State Prosecutor’s Office. “Cooperation among the associations…
6 February 2015: Senior government officials and legal experts from Iraq completed a three-day seminar in The Hague today that focused on the use of forensic evidence in court-led processes regarding mass graves and missing persons.
The seminar brought together legal experts from domestic and international courts to assess and strengthen the capacity of the Iraqi justice system to address the issue of the missing effectively, and to formulate specific recommendations for legal reforms that will facilitate progress in this area.
The seminar was organized as part of an initiative of the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights (MHR).
The seminar examined ways of
- developing the standing of forensic evidence within Iraqi law to enable it to serve as primary evidence;
- strengthening the role of prosecutors regarding the collection of forensic evidence;
- harmonizing the Law on Mass Graves, the Law on Forensics (amended 2013) concerning the Medical Legal Institute, and criminal procedure law;
Participants at meetings organized this week by ICMP in Tuzla and Brcko – the first of a series of Town Hall meetings that will be held throughout the country during February – unanimously agreed that the book-length Stocktaking Report published by ICMP, which describes two decades of work on accounting for missing persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a valuable platform for further dialogue on missing persons issues based on documented facts.
“We find and we feel that the issue of missing persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been addressed by ICMP without any kind of discrimination,” Milja Mitrovic of the Bijeljina Association of Missing Persons and the RS Association of Missing Persons said at the conclusion of today’s meeting in Brcko. “The presentation of the Stocktaking Report reflects this.”
At both meetings, representatives of associations of families of missing persons, the BiH Missing Persons Institute, the BiH Prosecutor’s Office, and…
At a meeting in The Hague this week, senior officials and legal experts from Libya launched an initiative to strengthen the Libyan justice system’s capacity to address the issue of missing persons.
Participants at a seminar organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons on Monday and Tuesday and entitled “Criminal Procedure and the Use of Evidence in Court-led Processes on Mass Graves and Missing Persons in Libya,” focused on how to expand the use of forensic evidence in court-led processes, and on clarifying inter-institutional responsibilities and legal obligations to family members of the missing.
While considerable progress has been made in building the technical capacity of the Libyan authorities, there are crucial gaps in the institutional and legal framework that need to be addressed in order to locate and identify the missing.
Recent political instability and violence has made it difficult to address much-needed legal reforms in a conclusive way, in…