12 February 2008: Representatives of the Missing Persons Institute for Bosnia and Herzegovina (MPI), including the chair of the Steering Board, Ms. Jasminka Dzumhur and Steering Board members Ivo Jurcevic, Dusan Sehovac and Jadranka Durakovic; MPI Advisory Board members, Munira Subašić, Ahmet Grahić and Zvonimir Kubinek along with Sesenam Cosic, Head of the War Crimes Unit of the Tuzla Cantonal Prosecutors Office, visited the facilities of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Tuzla on Monday.
The objective of their visit was to have a better understanding of the complicated process of identifying persons missing from the armed conflicts in BiH in 1992-1995.
Accompanied by ICMP’s Government Relations Coordinator, Klaudia Kuljuh, they visited ICMP’s Podrinje Identification Project (PIP), where mortal remains from the 1995 fall of Srebrenica are stored and identified, ICMP’s Identification Coordination Division (ICD), where all blood samples collected by ICMP from relatives of the missing and all bone samples received from government authorities are archived and sent to ICMP labs for testing, and the Lukavac Re-association Center (LKRC) where ICMP’s experts combine DNA technology and anthropological analysis to re-associate skeletal remains exhumed from secondary mass graves associated with the fall of Srebrenica.
“We are grateful to ICMP for the incredible work it has accomplished in providing assistance to BiH. Their work will contribute to the work of the MPI in its first important task, which is to establish a single, central record that would include a list of those who went missing during the conflicts. This database will include the records of the Federation Commission on Missing Persons, the Republika Srpska Office on Missing Persons, as well as relevant materials and documents from ICMP and ICRC. The central list will be subjected to a rigorous verification process that will ensure its accuracy,” stressed Chairwoman of the MPI Steering Board, Jasminka Dzumhur.
“The creation of a unified list of missing persons from the conflicts will not only ensure that governments provide accurate information regarding numbers of missing, but it will also guarantee that all families of missing persons have an equal right to know the fate of their relatives regardless of their ethnic or religious background,” said Ms. Kuljuh.
The commencement of work of the MPI brings the Law on Missing Persons, which was adopted in November 2004, one step closer to implementation. The Law safeguards the right of families to know the fate of a missing loved one and to assert their rights for effective domestic remedies. The Law also stipulates the establishment of the Fund for Support for Missing Persons Families. The Fund will secure financial means for realization of the rights of the relatives of missing persons, including support to their associations, and marking of exhumations and burial sites.
The MPI was inaugurated as a State-level body on 30 August 2005 and has taken over the responsibilities, staff and budgets of the entity bodies formerly charged with these responsibilities. ICMP is the co-founder of the Missing Persons Institute, which has been working in full capacity since 1 January.