29 December 2006: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) welcomes the decision by the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina to nominate members to the Steering Board of the Missing Persons Institute of Bosnia and Herzegovina (MPI).With the Steering and Supervisory Boards in place, the MPI will become operational. Beginning in 2007, the MPI will be the sole BiH institution tasked with accounting for the approximately 13,000 persons still missing from the conflicts in Bosnia and Herzegovina. MPI will search for the missing regardless of their national, ethnic or religious origin.
“This is very good news from the Council of Ministers. In addition to the operational activities of MPI next year, the focus will be on establishing and verifying the Central Record of the Missing. The Central Records will improve the process of collecting data and provide verifiable information on numbers of missing persons”, said Kathryne Bomberger, the ICMP General Director. She added that ICMP will continue to assist in excavations and identifications of missing persons through its support to MPI.
Part of ICMP’s technical assistance to BiH includes the use of DNA to identify persons who are missing from the conflict and whose mortal remains have been found in mass or illicit grave sites. To date ICMP has made over 9,000 DNA assisted identifications of missing persons in BiH.
“The issue of missing persons remains one of the biggest human rights issues facing BiH today and long-term sustainable institutions such as MPI and the Law on Missing Persons are absolutely necessary so that BiH can meet its obligations to its citizens, especially those most traumatized by the war and so that these victims can also access rights that they have long been denied”, said Bomberger.