14 August 2006: During his visit to the identification facilities of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Tuzla on Monday, the High Representative, Christian Schwarz-Schilling, said he was impressed with the work that has been done in the identification of missing persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In his first visit to ICMP’s facilities, the High Representative toured the Identification Coordination Division (ICD) and the Podrinje Identification Project (PIP).ICMP uses science as tool to address one of the biggest human rights issues facing BiH today. ICMP has pioneered the use of DNA as primary tool in missing persons identification, demonstrating success on massive scale. To learn about ICMP’s scientific methods, Christian Schwarz-Schilling toured the ICMP ICD, the center which stores, archives and matches all blood samples taken from relatives of missing persons and all bone samples taken from exhumed mortal remains.
He also visited PIP which is specifically created to assist in the identification of persons missing from the 1995 fall of Srebrenica. Mortal remains of these victims are stored and examined at the PIP. Also, ICMP forensic experts conduct ante-mortem and post-mortem data comparisons, inspect the remains and assist in making the final determination of identity.
ICMP would eventually hand over the PIP to the Missing Persons Institute (MPI). This transfer will contribute to MPI addressing the issue of missing persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina on a political, technical and operational level.
“ICMP is daily confronting suffering of mankind. Their work contributes to peace and justice not only for this country, but for the whole world,” said HR. Referring to the search for missing in BiH, he stated “I will do my utmost both as High Representative and European Union Special Representative to look for progress on finding mass graves.”
Out of 30,000 missing persons that were missing from the conflicts in Bosnia and Herzegovina, ICMP estimates that at least half of the persons missing still need be located, recovered and identified.
“It is very important for the whole society that we continue moving forward in resolving the fate of all missing”, said ICMP’s Chief of Staff, Kathryne Bomberger who accompanied the High Representative. She underlined that “by providing empirical evidence of a person’s identity, we are leaving little room for political manipulation with numbers of missing persons.”