Archive for August, 2005



Missing Persons Institute Launched on International Day of the Disappeared

Tuesday, August 30th, 2005

The Missing Persons Institute of Bosnia-Herzegovina was officially launched this morning at a ceremony at the Government Joint Institutions Building in Sarajevo. Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Minister for Human Rights and Refugees, Mirsad Kebo, and Chief of Staff of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), Kathryne Bomberger, signed the agreement that established the Council of Ministers as a co-founder of the Institute, along with the ICMP, thereby launching the Institute at the level of the State of Bosnia Herzegovina.Until today’s State-level launch of the Missing Persons Institute (MPI), which was originally created in 2000 by ICMP, responsibility for addressing the issue of the missing from the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) was divided between the country’s two highly autonomous entities.

“The implementation of the Missing Persons Institute marks a milestone in the history of both BiH and the International Commission on Missing Persons,” said Kathryne Bomberger in a speech at the signing ceremony. “By creating a sustainable, State-level structure, BiH has taken an important step forward in addressing the issue of the missing regardless of the ethnic, religious or national origin of the person being searched for. This is no small feat.”

The ICMP has been working with all stakeholders involved in the issue of the missing in Bosnia-Herzegovina for more than seven years to build the political will to launch the MPI at the State-level. At the signing ceremony, Kathryne Bomberger recognized in particular the strength and determination of the family members of the missing, from all ethnic groups, who had been a major motivation for the establishment of the MPI at the State-level.

The MPI will take over all the responsibilities, staff and budgets of the current entity bodies and will establish a central database to keep records of the missing and notify the families. The central database will help address the concerns of family members and their communities about the actual numbers of missing persons and where they went missing.

“Today Bosnia and Herzegovina has demonstrated historic courage in facing its past, but we must remember that of the 30,000 persons who went missing at the end of the conflicts here, there are between 15,000 to 20,000 persons still to be found,” said Kathryne Bomberger at the ceremony. “For this reason, the issue of missing persons probably constitutes one of the most important human rights issues facing Bosnia today.

“As the original founder and now the co-founder of MPI along with the Council of Ministers, ICMP calls upon the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina to ensure that the Institute is sustainable, impartial, credible and strong and that its work is a priority for the sake of the families of the missing, as well as all of its citizens and for the future of this country.”

August 30, International Day of the Disappeared, has been adopted as a day of commemoration of the missing and the day on which governments around the world are reminded of their responsibility to address the issue of missing persons.

Families of Missing Persons Demand Justice

Monday, August 29th, 2005

Family members of persons missing from the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia will join voices with thousands of others across the world tomorrow to mark the International Day of the Disappeared.The problem of disappearances is a global concern, with cases in more than 30 countries around the world. August 30th is recognized as the International Day of the Disappeared, following the custom of marking the day that was started in the early 1980’s by a Latin American federation of associations of families of detained and missing persons. It has since been adopted as a day of commemoration for associations of families of missing persons by international human rights groups around the world.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina this year, the day will be marked by the launch of a new State-level organization, the Missing Persons Institute (MPI), which will search for the missing regardless of their nationality or ethnicity, taking over responsibility from two ethnically divided organizations. The MPI was established by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), which has worked for years with all stakeholders in the country to build the political will to create a single State-level body and at a signing ceremony on August 30th, the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina will officially become co-founders of the Institute.

This year, family association representatives in Bosnia and Herzegovina are jointly demanding that the MPI be made operational as soon as possible with an accurate database of all missing persons and that the country’s unique Law on the Missing, passed in 2004 be fully implemented. Asking that the rights of all victims be addressed, they demand also that the process of tracing missing persons be de-politicized and that the exhumation of mass graves and identification process be speeded up. They are also appealing to anyone who may have information about the whereabouts of graves of the fate of missing persons to come forward.

Associations of families of missing persons have been marking the International Day of the Disappeared with activities across the former Yugoslavia since 2002. For the fourth year, the ICMP has supported the efforts of associations to organize a calendar of events in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro and Kosovo.

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is working to address the problem of missing persons through its work on a political, scientific and civil society level. The work of associations of families of missing persons is supported through grants, training, networking, and addressing the rights of surviving relatives. ICMP is helping to identify missing persons through its DNA testing program which has, to date, found DNA matches for more than 8,000 individuals in the former Yugoslavia.

Through its comprehensive interdisciplinary approach, ICMP hopes to contribute to a more stable peace and further steps towards truth, justice and reconciliation in the former Yugoslavia.

International Day of the Disappeared: 30th August

Friday, August 26th, 2005

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) announces that the 30 August 2005 International Day of the Disappeared will be marked throughout the former Yugoslavia with a series of events. These events have been organized in each country by local partners of ICMP to raise public awareness of the missing persons issue and to demand speeding up the process of tracing for missing persons.Due to the thousands of cases of disappearance in the former Yugoslavia, the public is encouraged to join with associations of families of the missing around the world to commemorate this day. Media are invited to attend all events.

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
Sunday, 28 August 2005, Nevesinje: 19:00, book promotion organized at the Dom Kultura by the Union of Associations of Families of Captured and Missing Persons of Republic of Srpska. For further information please contact Milijana Bojic at +387 65 998 804.

Monday, 29 August 29 2005, Nevesinje: 10:00, Memorial Service for victims at the Chapel of Saint Vasilije Ostroski; 12:30 at the Dom Kultura, Round Table discussion on the topic of “Process of Tracing for Missing Persons Ten Years after the War” organized by the Union of Associations of Families of Captured and Missing Persons of Republic of Srpska. For further information please contact Milijana Bojic at +387 65 998 804.

Tuesday, 30 August 2005, Sarajevo: 11:00, Signing Ceremony of the Agreement on Assuming the Role of Co-Founders of the Missing Persons Institute (MPI) between the Council of Ministers and ICMP at the BiH Joint Institutions Building.

Tuesday, 30 August 2005, Sarajevo: 14:00, Public Tribune on “Process of Tracing for Missing Persons from the Perspective of Families” at the Novi Grad Municipal Building, organized by the Bosniak Union of Associations of Families of Missing Persons. The program includes remarks by ICMP, ICRC, entity government’s Commissions on Missing Persons, and the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees on the Law on Missing Persons and overall process of tracing for M.P. For further information please contact Tajib Pasic Tel: +387 61 200 329 or Ahmet Grahic + 387 61 732 718.

Tuesday, 30 August 2005, Brcko: 11:00, Press Conference at the Dom Kultura organized by Association for tracing missing and killed Bosniaks of District Brcko. For further information please contact Zumreta Džaferovic + 387 49 212 489 or + 387 65 926 449.

REPUBLIC OF CROATIA
Monday, 29 August 2005, Osijek: 17:00, Public Tribune on victims of the war, their position in Republic of Croatia, lost dignity and their future position in the society. The event is organized by the association “Victims of Homeland War” from Osijeka. It will take place in the Croatian National Theatre in Osijek.

Tuesday, 30 August 2005, Vinkovci: 08:30, gathering at the pedestrian zone and visit to the city cemetery; 09:30 Memorial Service at Saint Euzebija and Poliona Church; and 10:30 Public Gathering. The program will include a report on activities and results of the Union of Family Associations and an invitation to government institutions to be more engaged in resolving issue of the missing. The Association “Croatian Mothers Vinkovci” on behalf of the Union of Associations of Families of Captured and Missing Croatian Defenders is organizing these events. For further information please contact Ivan Psenica Tel: + 385 1 456 8 723 or + 385 91 4568 722.

KOSOVO
Tuesday, 30 August 30, 2005, Prishtina: 10:00- 15:00 Photo exhibition with the title “Six Years of Coordination Council of Family Associations Work” and 15:00 Press Conference. Organized by the Coordination Council of Associations of Families of Missing Persons. For further information please contact Haki Kosumi at + 377 44 181 260.

SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO
Tuesday, 30 August 30, 2005, Belgrade: Delivery of petition demanding answers about the fate of their missing loved ones to Serbian Prime minister Vojislav Kostunica and peaceful march organized jointly by the Association of Parents and Families of Imprisoned, Captured and Missing Persons with the seat in Novi Sad, the Association of Citizens “Families of Missing Persons from Krajina”, the Association of Families of Kidnapped and Missing Persons from Kosovo and Metohija. For further information please contact Cedomir Maric + 381 63 894 2126.