26 March 2013: The BiH Chief Prosecutor Goran Salihović met with the Director General of the International Commission on Missing Persons Ms. Kathryne Bomberger in Sarajevo today.
Mr. Salihović and Mrs. Bomberger discussed efforts needed to accelerate accounting for missing persons in BiH. It is estimated that 9,000 persons missing from the armed conflicts relevant to Bosnia and Herzegovina are still unaccounted for.
During the meeting it was noted that approximately 22,000 persons have been accounted for and it is increasingly difficult to locate the remaining missing persons.
Their discussion focused on measures and activities to enhance efforts, including resolving cases of located unidentified mortal remains in morgues and ossuary facilities in BiH, exploring new avenues to find clandestine graves and the creation of a purpose specific database for the OTP on the search and identification of missing persons in BiH.
Mr. Salihović said that since start of 2011 the OTP together with representatives of MPI, ICMP and law enforcement agencies has been actively involved in the coordination process of exhumation and identification activities. He also noted that expert associates and OTP staff have been active in the field on several hundred occasions during exhumations in all parts of BiH.
Mr. Salihović also stressed that locating and identifying missing persons is a crucial matter for processing of war crime cases, as the documentation from this process is used as case evidence, while locating the mortal remains is also important for victim families who have been searching for their loved ones for 17 years or longer.
Mr. Salihović expressed his gratitude to ICMP and all the assistance it has provided to the BiH OTP and their work on locating and identifying missing persons, as well as the possibility for the advanced training of prosecutors and staff engaged in resolving war crimes cases.
Ms. Bomberger stressed that all institutions involved in the process should make efforts to establish without any further delay a mechanism to review all 12 mortuaries in BiH to determine why over 2,500 persons cannot be identified.
She stressed that ICMP has the isolated unique genetic profiles for a large number of persons which cannot be matched to blood reference samples provided to ICMP by families of the missing accounting for 9,000 different individuals.
During the meeting, joint cooperation was agreed between the BIH OTP and ICMP in the future on locating and identifying missing persons as well as the final identification of the already located mortal remains.
In addition, the two institutions have agreed to work jointly on locating the remaining mass graves in BiH, by using satellite imagery among other resources in order to help locate new locations where missing persons might be found.