Guidebook for the families of the missing to contribute to the more efficient implementation of the Law on Missing Persons in BiH

Article posted on June 30, 2006

In order to facilitate the access to information, justice and guaranteed rights to the family members of the missing persons, as well as improve the understanding of the Law on Missing Persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina and its practical implementation, Guidebook for the families of the missing was created.

Representatives of the BiH Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) have today presented the Guidebook at the press conference in Sarajevo, attended by the representatives of the associations of the families of the missing.

„Even though we’re falling behind with the other activities related to the implementation of the Law on Missing Persons in BiH, due to objective reasons, we have these days just gotten the approval from the entity governments to finalize the procedure of establishing the Support Fund for the families of the missing persons in BiH. The Guidebook also contains the answers on numerous questions regarding realization of the rights on financial support to the family members of the missing”, said Saliha Djuderija, the Head of the Human Rights Department at the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees of BiH.

The Law on Missing Persons in BiH was passed at the end of November 2004. This Law, inter alia, guarantees the realization of the right to find out about the fate of their missing loved ones to the family members. Also, the Law provides for the realization of the right on financial support to the family members of the missing, as well as other rights guaranteed by this Law.The Guidebook was created on the basis of questions raised by the family members of the missing persons and the representatives of the associations of the missing during the public debates held in April 2006 in Brčko, Prijedor, Sarajevo and Travnik. Creation of the Guidebook included the efforts of the BiH Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees, in cooperation with the ICMP, ICRC, Freedom of Access to Information Center, and the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

„ICRC wishes once again to emphasize the importance of a full implementation of the Law on Missing Persons. The Guidebook was created to make it easier for the families to learn of the fate of their missing ones. It is the responsibility of the authorities to undertake all legal and practical measures to provide the families of the missing persons with better access to their rights and benefits they are entitled to”, said Marianne Gasser, the Head of the Delegation of the Red Cross to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Special emphasis was put on the explanation of the definitions in the Law on Missing Persons in BiH, in order to prevent potential dilemmas in their interpretation.

„The Law on Missing Persons in BiH guarantees to the families of the missing that the authorities are required to fulfill their obligations. It is of great importance for the family members to be familiar with the provisions of the Law, and I hope this Guidebook will be useful to them regarding the realization of their rights”, said Klaudia Kuljuh, the ICMP Government Relations Coordinator.

For further information, please contact:
Saliha Đuderija, Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees of BiH, at 033 221 293
Sanela Bajrambašić, ICRC, at 033 721 780 or 061 102 278
Vedran Peršić, ICMP, at 033 280 800, 061 225 239