13 June 2006: During a visit to facilities of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Tuzla, eastern Bosnia, today, Chairman of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Council of Ministers Adnan Terzic stressed that families had a right to know the truth about their missing loved ones.Mr. Terzic thanked family members for their patience and for their commitment to the process of resolving the fate of the missing. Without that commitment, he said, so much progress could not have been made.
After his tour of ICMP facilities, Mr. Terzic said there had been tremendous progress over the last ten years in addressing the issue of the missing and he thanked ICMP for the assistance it had given in achieving that progress. He noted the identification of approximately half of the roughly 30,000 who went missing in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the implementation of the Missing Persons Institute, the creation of a Law on Missing Persons, and the creation of a Fund for Support for the Families of Missing Persons.
“I am here to express our engagement in the process of resolving the missing persons issue; it is a top priority for this country,” he said. He urged other government leaders also to visit ICMP facilities and for anyone who had information on the location of mass graves to come forward. “I am impressed with the unique system that ICMP has developed,” he added, “It is a system that will also help to resolve missing persons issues in other parts of the world.
ICMP, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, is the co-founder of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Missing Persons Institute and one of the drafters of the country’s Law on Missing Persons. Of the identifications made so far in Bosnia-Herzegovina, almost 8,000 have been based on DNA matches made by ICMP since November 2001. ICMP estimates that an additional 6,000 DNA-assisted identifications will be completed before the end of next year.
Although he said he was proud of the achievements made so far on the missing persons issue, Mr. Terzic said he recognized there was still a long way to go. “The process of addressing such an issue, like so many other transitional justice issues takes a long time and will never move fast enough for the victims. However, the institutions that BiH has built are unique in the world and are designed to be long-lasting, he said.