ICMP-Ministry of Defenders of Croatia Joint Press Release
28 October 2014: A Joint Identification Project between Croatia and ICMP was the focus of a meeting today at the International Commission on Missing persons (ICMP) in Sarajevo between Matthew Holliday, head of the ICMP Western Balkans Program and Minister for the Defenders of Croatia Predrag Matic.
Mr. Holliday said the success of the project demonstrated the possibilities for constructive cooperation among countries and agencies. “ICMP has been able to apply forensic and database management techniques in Croatia that have complemented the efforts of the Croatian authorities. It has been a productive partnership,” he said.
Mr Matic expressed his gratitude towards ICMP regarding the established cooperation along with all previous donations and added that “the cooperation established with ICMP contributes to the identification process in the Republic of Croatia and in neighboring countries as well. Croatia has identified over 80% of exhumed persons. This represents a high percentage even in the global framework.”
Mr Matic and Mr. Holliday also discussed the handover of elements of ICMP’s fDMS to the Croatian Ministry of Defenders, Office for Detained and Missing which is ongoing, and they agreed on the importance of establishing a “Regional List of the Missing,” which will help to provide a definitive answer to the number of persons missing as a result of the conflicts of the 1990s in the former Yugoslavia.
Mr Holliday and Mr Matic also agreed that the “The Regional List,” compiled by Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, Kosovo and Montenegro, would make data kept in one country available regionally, and it would make it easier to resolve jurisdictional issues over missing persons cases.
Croatia has developed its legal, operational and institutional capacities to address the missing persons issue effectively and was one the strongest supporters of ICMP’s Declaration on the Role of the State in Addressing the Issue of Persons Missing as a Consequence of Armed Conflict and Human Rights Abuses, signed in Mostar on 29 August.
Thanks to the success of the joint project with Republic of Croatia, ICMP will use this pattern of cooperation when working with other partner countries.
Mr Matic was accompanied by Ivan Grujic, Assistant to Minister for Defenders and Chairman of the Government Commission for the Detained and Missing, and Visnja Bilic, Secretary of the Government Commission for the Detained and Missing and Head of the Department for Searching for Persons Missing from the Homeland War.