Authorities Must Be Actively Engaged

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 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.

“The process of search and identification of missing persons needs to be more transparent and completely depoliticized,” said Isidora Graorac of the Republican Organization of Fallen Families of Soldiers and Missing Persons. “All stakeholders must be more proactive and ready to accept criticism in order to use this for potential improvement of work.”

ICMP began the meeting by presenting BiH, Missing Persons from the Armed Conflicts of the 1990s: A Stocktaking, a book-length report which describes two decades of efforts to account for the missing and examines specific issues in Lower Podrinje, Upper Podrinje, Herzegovina, Sarajevo, Posavina, Central Bosnia, Northeast Bosnia and Western Bosnia.