The Minister of Justice of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Barisa Colak, and the State Chief Prosecutor, Marinko Jurcevic, met with the Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), Ms. Kathryne Bomberger today during a visit to the headquarters of ICMP, located in Sarajevo.During their visit, they had an opportunity to discuss a variety of issues, including the initiative of the State Prosecutor to establish a State Forensics Institute in BiH.
“Over the years, the ICMP has provided training for young people in BiH to work as forensic anthropologists and archeologists. They have provided this training to ensure that BiH has a sustainable process in place for locating, recovering and identifying persons missing from the conflicts. A State Forensics Institute would provide the forum for these experts to carry out their work in the years to come,” said Minister Colak during today’s meeting.
It is estimated that around 30,000 people went missing during the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina and out of that number 13,500 are still missing. The largest number of the missing, around 10,000, have not yet been located and exhumed. By creating the Missing Persons Institute (MPI), a sustainable state-level structure, Bosnia-Herzegovina is taking an important step forward in addressing the issue of the missing.
“Now that the MPI is functioning, it is important to have a State-level forensics institute in place that can work in parallel with MPI and hand in hand with the State Court,” said Jurcevic. He added, “Each mass grave is the scene of a crime and it is important that excavations continue to be undertaken in accordance with best practice procedures and that records are stored in a central location.”
Resolving the fate of missing persons remains to be the major human rights issue facing Bosnia and Herzegovina today. Confronting the horrors of the past is not only important to relatives search for their missing, but also for society, which having addressed the events of the war can more easily face the future. Since November 2001, ICMP has assisted BiH in locating, recovering and identifying almost 10,000 persons missing from the conflicts here.