On behalf of the Government of the Netherlands, the Ambassador of The Netherlands to Bosnia and Herzegovina, H.E. Mr. Sweder van Voorst tot Voorst, and the Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons Ms. Kathryne Bomberger, signed a major grant agreement today at ICMP’s Headquarters in Sarajevo.
The contribution of nearly USD 4,500,000 will support ICMP’s technical assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina over the next two years and will complete the generous long-term support of the Netherlands to ICMP in the region.
“The extraordinary commitment of The Netherlands towards addressing the issue of missing persons in the Western Balkans has enabled ICMP to assist the governments of the region account for over 27,000 of the 40,000 persons who were reported missing following the cessation of the conflicts. We are immensely grateful to The Netherlands for its invaluable 14- year commitment to this process,” said Kathryne Bomberger, ICMP Director-General. “The agreement signed today will enable ICMP to complete its high throughput DNA testing over the next two years,” she added during the signing ceremony.
“The Netherlands has made a clear commitment to assist Srebrenica. However, throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Western Balkans all families who suffer this uncertainty deserve to know the fate of their loved ones. I am very pleased that this contribution supports an organization that seeks to ensure that BiH and the governments in the region search for all regardless of their ethnicity, nationality or role in the conflict,” stated Ambassador van Voorst.
“In order to make as much progress as possible in the next two years it is essential that the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina continue to show the determination to continue to work together for the benefit of families and not use this profoundly distressing issue to further any narrow political agendas,” he added.
The Dutch contribution to ICMP has focused on the highly complicated forensic work related to Srebrenica. ICMP estimates that 8,100 persons went missing as a consequence of the 1995 fall of Srebrenica of which 7,733 reports have been registered by surviving relatives. Some 7,000 unique DNA profiles have been isolated from recovered remains and 6,790 have been DNA matched or otherwise identified. This latter figure represents 88% of the reported missing and 84% of the estimated total missing.
Using DNA analysis the ICMP has assisted in the identification of 16,644 people missing from the conflicts in the Western Balkans, 13,904 related to Bosnia and Herzegovina.