EU Special Representative and Head of the European Union Delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, together with the Director of Finance and Administration of the International Commission on Missing persons (ICMP), Sanjiv Ray, have signed a contract under which the European Union will continue to fund the work of ICMP in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The contract, worth 1 million Euros over a period of one year, will enable ICMP to assist Bosnia and Herzegovina in the complex process of locating and identifying missing persons from the conflicts of the 1990s.
“The European Union understands the essential need to account for the missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Ambassador Wigemark said. “It helps fulfill the families’ right to know the fate and whereabouts of their missing relatives and to access their rights to justice. Lasting peace and reconciliation cannot be achieved without a credible and effective effort to account for the missing and, where possible, to bring those responsible for their disappearance to justice. ICMP has taken the lead in helping the BIH authorities to do this.”
Matthew Holliday, the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program, said the EU grant is particularly important since ICMP is committed to helping the BIH authorities to complete the process of reviewing cases of unidentified remains in mortuaries, and to make recommendations that will result in the resolution of many hundreds of cases.
“We believe that this exercise can result in a significant number of new identifications,” he said. “Even though the majority of the approximately 30,000 missing persons have been accounted for, 8,000 families have still not found their relatives, which is why the relevant domestic agencies must remain vigilant in accounting for the missing. We are grateful for the support of the European Union, which makes it possible for ICMP to provide assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina and its citizens.”
ICMP endeavors to secure the co-operation of governments and other authorities in locating and identifying persons who go missing as a result of conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, migration and other circumstances. It also supports the work of other organizations in their efforts, encourages public involvement in its activities and contributes to the development of appropriate expressions of commemoration and tribute to the missing.