27 June 2007: The governing structures of the Missing Persons Institute of Bosnia and Herzegovina (MPI) held their inaugural meeting today in Sarajevo. The meeting of the Steering and Supervisory Board, along with the Board of Directors, marked the start of the functioning of the MPI. It is a State-level organization co-founded by the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).The MPI was inaugurated as a State-level body on 30 August 2005 and will take over all the responsibilities, staff and budgets of the current entity bodies. By creating a sustainable, state-level structure, Bosnia-Herzegovina is taking an important step forward in addressing the issue of the missing.
During a press conference that preceded the meeting, Dr Safet Halilovic, Minister for Human Rights and Refugees of BiH said, “The start of the MPI is an important and immense contribution in overcoming problems that exist within the process of searching for missing persons.” He added that it is “good example of being able to reach common solutions even when there are many different approaches to this issue”.
The MPI will collect, process and organize information on missing persons and mass graves. It will establish a single, central database on missing persons to keep records and notify families of the missing. This central database will help address the concerns of family members and their communities about the actual numbers of missing persons and where they went missing.
“It is the hope of the co-founders of MPI and the families that the individuals appointed to the governance bodies of MPI will provide enlightened leadership in a transparent and accountable manner”, said Kathryne Bomberger, ICMP Director-General. “That they will listen to the families of the missing and continue the consultative process with civil society, governments, technical experts and the international community that has formed the basis of this unique process, which is MPI”, she added. She thanked the Minister for Human Rights and his staff for their dedication and she thanked the British Government for the unfailing financial support over to ICMP to build MPI over the last five years.
“The implementation of MPI is a process, part of the overall implementation of the Law on Missing Persons. For example, the Entities must come to agreement on the financing for the Fund for Support to Families of Missing Persons, which will provide financial assistance to those families most in need, not to mention serve as a fund to support the work of the family associations”, said Mathew Rycroft, British Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina. He announced during the press conference that the British Government will allocate additional funds this year for activities aimed at reducing the causes of instability and potential conflicts enhancing the effectiveness of the state and assisting the transformation of the political culture.