10 December 2008: ICMP commends Bosnia and Herzegovina for marking the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights by holding a special session of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, Rights of the Child, Youth, Immigration, Refugees, Asylum and Ethics of the Parliamentary Assembly.
During the special session Ms. Kathryne Bomberger, the Director-General of ICMP, noted, “There are still over 13,000 persons missing from the armed conflicts that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This fact constitutes one of the biggest human rights issues facing Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region today.”
Ms.Bomberger added that 10th December 2008 saw a major step forward in addressing the problem of the missing in Bosnia-Herzegovina as ICMP had today successfully completed a handover to the Missing Persons Institute of BiH (MPI) of part of ICMP’s data on missing persons.
“Today marks a pivotal moment in the work of the Missing Persons Institute,” said Ms. Bomberger. “ICMP has provided MPI with 13 categories of different data concerning missing persons in BiH, and after this handover MPI should be well on their way to establishing a list of missing persons, which is a critical first step in the establishment of the MPI’s Central Records.”
“The handover of ICMP’s data is of great importance to the MPI because this data, together with data from other primary sources, represents the basis for initiating the verification of data relevant to missing persons from the BiH conflict.”, said Mr. Amor Masovic, Chairman of the MPI Board of Directors.
“The establishment of a unified list of missing persons is important for two reasons,” said Ms. Bomberger. “First it will allow BiH authorities to speak with one voice regarding the numbers of persons missing, and second, the list will form an integral part of the Central Records and as such will help family members access social and economic benefits as outlined in the BiH Law on Missing Persons.”
ICMP intends to provide additional data to the MPI, as well as components of its software program for tracking missing persons cases following the official adoption of the MPI Book of Rules on Central Records by the Council of Ministers.
The Central Records of the MPI will also consist of important data from the ICRC and the former BiH Entity commissions on missing persons.
During the session, Ms. Bomberger called on Bosnia and Herzegovina to implement without further delay the Law on Missing Persons and to create the Fund for Families of the Missing.