Urgent need for implementation of the Law on Missing Persons

The families of the missing seek prompt implementation of the Law on missing persons of Bosnia and Herzegovina by all levels of authority and the realization of their legally prescribed rights, including the establishment of the Fund for support to families. The Law on Missing Persons was adopted at the BiH Parliament in November 2004 and defines, apart from the rights of families of missing persons, the responsibilities of the authorities of all levels in BiH on resolving the fate at the missing.The Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in cooperation with the International Committee of Red Cross and the International Commission on Missing Persons organized a series of meetings with associations of families of missing persons from across the country. At the meetings which finished on Wednesday, the families had an opportunity to comment to the implementation of the Law.

Associations request the rapid establishment of the Fund for support to families of missing persons which should provide direct assistance to the families, and fund the activities of their associations. Family associations seek from the entity and Brcko District governments to harmonize laws regulating the rights of missing soldiers and civil victims of war with the Law on Missing Persons will that applied at the level of the state. Furthermore, family associations request improved exchange of information between relevant authorities in BiH as well as between associations themselves.

Family associations were informed about the establishment of Central Records of Missing Persons within the Missing Persons Institute (MPI). The creation of Central Records is intended to remove the possibility of misuse of numbers of missing persons in BiH. The Law on Missing Persons foresees the establishment of MPI and the families wish for this body to take over its role in tracing all missing persons in BiH as soon as possible, regardless of the ethnic, religious or national origin of those missing.

The findings and conclusions of the meeting with the families of missing persons shall be used in order to achieve the better implementation of the Law. Meetings with around 80 family representatives were held on 18th and 26th April in Sarajevo, Brcko, Prijedor and Travnik.

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For further information please contact:
Saliha Đuderija, BiH Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees at 033 221 293
Sanela Bajrambašić, ICRC at 033 652 407
Vedran Peršić, ICMP at 033 280 800