Family Members Stand Together for Their Rights

Article posted on ?????? 27, 2007

10th Regional Networking Conference on the Missing Persons IssueThe International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) hosted a conference in Novi Vinodolski, Republic of Croatia, where representatives of associations of families of missing persons and representatives from relevant government institutions from the region met together for three days to discuss issues pertinent to determining the fate of missing persons from the armed conflicts of the 1990’s in South Eastern Europe.

ICMP hosted this three day conference in coordination with family associations from the various regions affected by the conflicts”There are still over 17,500 persons missing from the various armed conflicts that took place during the 1990’s. This fact constitutes one of the biggest human rights issues facing the countries of southeast Europe today,” said Ms. Kathryne Bomberger, the Director-General of ICMP. “This forum allows family members with missing relatives to exert their right to advocate for information and to discuss these issues directly with authorities responsible for working on this issue,” she added.

The conclusions of the conference included a demand from the families of the missing persons for the relevant institutions involved in the search for missing persons to intensify their activities. They specifically insisted on greater engagement of the prosecutors and courts, particularly regarding the gathering of information on locations of clandestine graves from indictees and witnesses. The families further recommended that the Republic of Croatia and the Republic of Serbia immediately exchange all possible documentation and other relevant information regarding missing persons, and concurrently that all other governments and authorities in the region carry out any and all activities that could lead to information on the fate and whereabouts of missing persons. Furthermore, they requested that in BiH the Law on Missing Persons be implemented without delay.

Present during the meeting were 67 participants, including 40 representatives from associations of missing persons and representatives from the Missing Persons Institute of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Commission of the Government of the Republic of Croatia on Missing and Detained Persons, the Commission on Missing Persons from the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the Kosovo Provisional Institutions of Self-Government Commission on Missing Persons. In addition, representatives of the State Attorney’s Office of the Republic of Croatia, the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor of the Republic of Serbia and the International Committee for the Red Cross were in attendance.

The conference was opened on 25 October by Ms. Jadranka Kosor, the Vice President of the Government of the Republic of Croatia and Dr. Safet Halilovic, the BiH Minister of Human Rights and Refugees.

The full text of the recommendations is attached and is also available on ICMP website: www.ic-mp.org or at your request on press@ic-mp.org