The Hague, 11 July 2021: The truth about the Srebrenica Genocide of 1995 must be upheld; efforts to account for those who are still missing must continue; and perpetrators must be brought to justice, Kathryne Bomberger, Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), said today.
Speaking on the 26th anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide, Ms. Bomberger said: “Today, we stand together with 19 families who are burying their loved ones and with all those who are fighting for truth and justice . The effort to account for those who went missing at Srebrenica and throughout the former Yugoslavia is an essential element in reinstating the rule of law. Truth and justice are essential for lasting peace.”
In July 1995, Bosnian Serb forces overran Srebrenica, killing around 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys and expelling women, children and elderly from the town. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) ruled that the crimes in Srebrenica were acts of genocide.
For more than two decades, ICMP has led efforts together with the relevant authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and families of the missing to account for those who went missing during the conflicts in former Yugoslavia and to uphold the rights of families of the missing, regardless of national, ethnic or religious affiliation, or role in the conflicts. It has helped to identify more than 75 percent of the 30,000 persons who went missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including almost 90 percent of the victims of the Srebrenica Genocide. ICMP has spearheaded a regional effort to account for the missing that is based on the rule of law. It helps governments to carry out effective investigations and it helps families of the missing to participate fully in the process of accounting for their loved ones.
ICMP scientific data on persons missing from the Srebrenica genocide has been admitted in evidence at trials before the ICTY and courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina. To date, a total of 20 individuals have been tried at the ICTY for crimes related to Srebrenica. Of these, 16 have been convicted. The BIH State Court has put 57 individuals on trial for crimes related to Srebrenica and 37 have been convicted.
ICMP’s Western Balkans program will continue to assist in locating the approximately 1,000 persons still missing from the Srebrenica genocide and more than 11,000 persons still missing in the region. In July 2018 in London, leaders of the countries in the region and EU members states that are participating in the Berlin Process signed a Joint Declaration, which, among other things, reiterates their commitment to supporting efforts to account for those who are still missing from the conflicts in former Yugoslavia. In November 2018 at ICMP’s Headquarters in The Hague, representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia signed a Framework Plan formally undertaking to work together as the regional Missing Persons Group.
“Governments and political authorities must continue to cooperate to resolve the remaining missing persons cases and to ensure that reliable and accurate information is provided to families and the public”, Ms. Bomberger said.
ICMP is a treaty-based intergovernmental organization with Headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands. Its mandate is to secure the cooperation of governments and others in locating missing persons from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, irregular migration and other causes and to assist them in doing so. It is the only international organization tasked exclusively to work on the issue of missing persons.