The review of BiH mortuaries being carried out under the jurisdiction of the relevant Prosecutors’ Offices with the full cooperation of the police, pathologists and the authorities, the Missing Persons Institute and ICMP demonstrates the determined efforts to investigate missing persons cases , 20 years after the conflict, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger wrote in a column that appeared on Sunday (13 December) in the daily newspaper Dnevni Avaz.
“It also highlights the very important fact that more than two decades after the war, with more than 70 percent of the missing accounted for, the effort to account for those who are still missing remains absolutely essential,” Ms Bomberger added.
For the last two years, the NN (no name) Working Group has been systematically reviewing cases of unidentified remains in BiH mortuaries, moving from one mortuary to the next. It has so far reviewed cases in Sutina, Nevesinje, Gorazde, Tavnik, Visoko and the Commemorative Centre Tuzla. The initial review is scheduled to be completed by the middle of 2016.
“So far 61 new identifications have been made, and more than 700 re-association reports (where individual bones have been re-associated with a partially complete skeleton) have been issued,” Ms Bomberger wrote, adding that “more remains can be found; more identifications can be made.”
She said the recent announcement by the BiH Missing Persons Institute that a new clandestine grave had been found at Kozluk near Zvornik highlighted the need to maintain the search for the missing. Kozluk is a primary grave site related to the Srebrenica events of July 1995.
“The grave site was found as a result of the combined efforts of the BiH authorities with international support. The site was excavated in 1999 by the ICTY. A review by ICMP of the excavation data and the cases recovered from Kozluk and related secondary graves indicated that there were more remains to be found. Investigation by the Prosecutor’s Office and MPI has provided additional corroborative information and the Association of Mothers of the Srebrenica and Zepa Enclaves also provided additional corroborative information and information on new locations to search,” Ms Bomberger wrote.
“The new Kozluk site was found through the joint effort of multiple BiH agencies, the international community and the families of the missing, and is an example of how combining and analyzing information from all available sources can yield results,” she concluded.