Missing Persons Issues in FYROM/Macedonia

Article posted on November 24, 2003

Gordon Bacon, the Chief of Staff of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) made a review of progress in the country towards the determination of the fate and whereabouts of all persons searched for as a result of the 2001 crisis. Mr. Bacon noted that despite assurances made by the Government, minimal visible progress has been made to date.Notably absent is any implementation of an ICMP initiative presented to the Government a year ago to establish a national process to determine the fate and whereabouts of the 20 plus missing persons. ICMP’s initiative provides for the creation of a neutral and independent coordination body that would report directly to the Prime Minister and that would include persons representing both major ethnic communities in Macedonia.

In June the Parliament approved the creation of a Government/Parliamentary Commission, however, this commission was never implemented. In line with ICMP’s initial proposal, in August the Prime Minister announced to the families of the missing that two coordinators would be appointed in an effort to form a national process. No further action was taken by the Government.

On 16 October the Chairman of the ICMP, James V. Kimsey, sent a letter to the Prime Minister urging the immediate appointment of the two Government Coordinators. The ICMP Chief of Staff is discouraged to find that the Coordination body has not yet been created.

ICMP takes this opportunity to remind the State of its responsibility to determine the fate and whereabouts of all searched-for persons, regardless of ethnicity, religious, or other status.