Sarajevo November 19 2020 – A new grant of SEK 9 million (€870,000) from Sweden enables the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) to continue supporting Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH) authorities’ efforts to account for missing persons and secure the rights of families .
“Sweden’s support to ICMP over the years has contributed to identifying missing persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina, bringing clarity to families and friends about the fate of their loved ones, and bringing justice to victims,” said Johanna Strömquist, Sweden’s Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina. “Thousands are still missing, and the families need to know. We will continue to support ICMP in assisting local authorities to take on their legal obligations towards them and by that contribute to strengthening the rule of law and the level of trust in the society.”
Through the grant, ICMP will continue its technical support to BIH authorities. This includes assistance in documenting mass and clandestine graves, making DNA-based identifications and matching data so that missing persons cases can be closed by the Bosnian authorities, the identity of missing persons linked to crime scenes and evidence submitted to courts.
“This new grant from Sweden will help ICMP to continue assisting authorities in BIH in respecting their obligation under local and international law,” said Matthew Holliday, the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program. “This includes securing the rights of the families of the missing, and full implementation of the BIH Law on Missing Persons.”
Since 1996, ICMP has maintained a regional program in the Western Balkans to ensure the cooperation of the governments in finding persons missing from the conflicts of the 1990s. BIH had the highest number of missing persons – 30,000 – of missing in the region. ICMP has helped the regional governments account for over 70 percent of the 40,000 persons missing in the region, including almost 90 percent of the 8,000 persons missing from the Srebrenica genocide. This ratio that has not been equaled in any other post-conflict country in the world.
Including the new grant, which covers the coming three years, Sweden has provided SEK 67 million (app. €6.53 million) to support ICMP’s work in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 2002.
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 tasked exclusively to work on the issue of missing persons.