Joint Working Group sucessfully resolved cases of missing persons

Joint Working Group during the meeting

2 October 2009: Representatives of missing persons institutions of the governments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia and the Republic of Serbia met yesterday at a meeting of a Regional Working Group hosted by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). This was the second working meeting of this Working Group consisting of representatives of the Missing Persons Institute (MPI) of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH), the Commission for Missing Persons of the Republic of Serbia (RoS) and the Commission for Detained and Missing of the Republic of Croatia (RoC). The meeting was also attended by a representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).Following an exchange and joint analysis of information provided by the three institutions and the ICMP, 22 cases of missing persons have been resolved and closed, while important preconditions for closing another 21 have been made. The regional Working Group convenes regularly to share information and exchange progress reports on individual cases of missing persons which have proved hard to identify.

“I would like to express my great satisfaction with this meeting’s results that demonstrates that an individualized and targeted approach to resolving missing persons cases brings real benefits, which we had been hoping for when the Working Group was founded”, head of the Commission for Detained and Missing of the Republic of Croatia Colonel Ivan Grujić said.

“We are encouraged with the results of today’s meeting and the fact that actual cases have been resolved. We believe that this work method, based on thorough preparation and open cooperation, should be continued in the future”, said Zorica Avramović, member of the Commission for Missing Persons of the Republic of Serbia.

“This method of information exchange has proven to be extremely productive in concluding cases of mutual interest for the three states. The cases solved show that the issue of missing persons is clearly a regional problem and requires intensive cooperation between all the governments in the region”, Milan Bogdanić, the Chairman of the Missing Persons Institute’s Board of Directors said.

“This Working Group is an ICMP initiative and we are glad that it has yielded positive results and succeeded in closing these open cases”, said Klaudia Kuljuh, ICMP’s Western Balkans Coordinator.

ICMP endeavors to secure the co-operation of governments and other authorities in locating and identifying persons missing as a result of armed conflicts, other hostilities or violations of human rights and to assist them in doing so. An estimated 40,000 persons were missing following the cessation of the Balkans conflicts of the nineties, of whom ICMP has identified over 15,000 using DNA-assisted technology.