Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Missing Persons Institute and ICMP strengthen cooperation

Sarajevo 23 June 2021 – The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the Missing Persons Institute of Bosnia and Herzegovina (MPI) will further strengthen their cooperation to account for missing persons, under an agreement that was signed today in Sarajevo.

“The agreement strengthens our cooperation with the aim to account for as many missing persons as possible in line with rule of law, in order to uphold the rights of all families of the missing to truth and justice,” said Matthew Holliday, the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program. “Bosnia and Herzegovina’s authorities, assisted by ICMP, have so far accounted for 75 percent of the 30,000 persons reported missing as a consequence of the 1990s conflict. The agreement will enable us to reinforce our efforts to the 7,000 persons still missing.”

The agreement, which is prescribed by Article 12 of the Agreement on Assuming the Role of Co-founders of the Missing Persons Institute of Bosnia and Herzegovina, provides for the continuation of ICMP’s assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina. This includes technical assistance at the exhumation of clandestine gravesites and in mortuary operations, as well as DNA testing of biological samples so that BIH authorities can identify missing persons accurately and so that evidence linked to crime scenes can be submitted to courts. ICMP will also continue to enable MPI to access its data on missing persons, field operations and post-mortem samples in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“Today’s agreement is a step forward in terms of cooperation between the MPI and the ICMP. This is amendment of the exiting agreement through technical cooperation to expedite the process of search for missing persons and make it more efficient. We would like to thank the ICMP for their past work and cooperation and we hope that future cooperation will be even more efficient so that more families get to exercise their rights and learn truth about the fate of their loved ones”, said Nikola Perisic, chairman of the Board of Director of the MPI.

To find the remaining missing persons, information on the locations of suspected clandestine gravesites is needed. ICMP’s Site Locator application,  available both on ICMP’s and MPI’s websites, enables anyone with such information to report it anonymously.

ICMP has since 1996 maintained a regional program in the Western Balkans to ensure the cooperation of the governments in finding persons missing from the conflicts of the 1990s. ICMP has helped the regional governments account for over 70 percent of the 40,000 persons missing in the region, an unprecedented ratio.

About ICMP

ICMP is a treaty-based intergovernmental organization with Headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands. Its mandate is to secure the cooperation of governments and others in locating missing persons from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, irregular migration and other causes and to assist them in doing so. It is tasked exclusively to work on the issue of missing persons.

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