Accounting for the Missing Is Key

Sarajevo 21 March 2016 – Resolving the issue of missing persons is a key element in sustaining reconciliation and stability throughout the region, Matthew Holliday, the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program, said today during a briefing in Pristina for HRH Prince Charles, who was visiting Kosovo as part of a regional tour.

At the briefing, organized at the Presidency/Assembly Building by the Government Commission on Missing Persons in Kosovo, Prince Charles met members of family associations of the missing, as well as officials and representatives of international organizations.

ICMP has worked to address the issue of missing persons in Kosovo since 1999. Since 2003 it has helped the authorities through DNA-based identifications, working initially with the UN Interim Administration (UNMIC) and since September 2008 with the EU Rule of Law Mission (EULEX). Using DNA, ICMP has helped to identify more than 2,500 of the estimated 4,500 missing from the Kosovo conflict.

ICMP has provided technical assistance and capacity development for the Commission on Missing Persons, and has helped to empower dozens of family associations, helping families of the missing to claim their rights to the truth and to justice.

“The uncertainty of the fate of the missing is an impediment to peace and reconciliation. That’s why the authorities in Pristina and Belgrade need to strengthen their cooperation and double their efforts to search for the remaining 1,670 persons missing as a result of the Kosovo conflict,” said Holliday.