10 July 2015: The Commissioners of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) met with the Chairman of the BiH Council of Ministers in Sarajevo today.
The Commissioners noted that Bosnia and Herzegovina has accounted for more than 70 percent of the missing – around 23,000 people. No other country has matched this. ICMP has helped to identify more than 14,500 of the missing using DNA.
The Commissioners assured Chairman Zvizdic that while ICMP will move its headquarters from Sarajevo to The Hague this year, it will maintain a program in the region and continue to support the effort by the BiH authorities to account for 8,000 people who are still missing. The Commissioners briefed Chairman Zvizdic on key steps that ICMP believes need to be taken in order to sustain this effort.
Commending the authorities for signing the Declaration on the Role of the State in Addressing the Missing Persons Issue, along with Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia, last August in Mostar, the Commissioners emphasized that the relevant BiH ministries must now assume full managerial oversight of the Missing Persons Institute (MPI) and take immediate steps to resolve the management and funding issues at the MPI. They also urged the authorities to implement the Law on Missing Persons fully by completing the verification of the Central Records on Missing Persons and establishing the Fund for the Families of the Missing.
“We believe that Chairman Zvizdic and the members of the Council of Ministers can place the search for the missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina on a sustainable path and we are encouraged by the constructive and practical tone of our conversation today,” said ICMP Chairman and former US Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Thomas Miller.
“The Council of Ministers is establishing its policy agenda,” Chairman Zvizdic said, “and every one of us fully understands how important the issue of missing persons is for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s stability and recovery. We are committed to carrying this process forward.”