US Deputy Chief of Mission Visits ICMP

The Deputy Chief of Mission at the American Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Judith Cefkin, and the Consul at the Embassy, Paul Boyd, visited the facilities of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Tuzla today. Since its creation in 1996 at a G-7 Summit at the behest of then President Clinton, the United States continues to be one of the biggest supporters ICMP.Accompanied by the ICMP Chief Operating Officer and Director of Finance, Adam Boys, the delegation from the American Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina visited the ICMP facilities where mortal remains of Srebrenica victims are re-associated and identified, as well as the global center where blood samples collected by ICMP from relatives of the missing and all bone samples received from government authorities are archived and sent to ICMP labs in Sarajevo and Banja Luka for DNA testing.

“ICMP’s work is critical on many levels. It is essential in human terms and extremely important to the legal and political development of Bosnia and Herzegovina as well. It is the best example of international community’s assistance to this country”, said Deputy Chief of Mission. Ms. Judith Cefkin.

“The assistance from the United States has given ICMP the opportunity to develop a unique approach to the issue of missing persons”, said ICMP Chief Operation Officer and Director of Finance, Adam Boys. “We believe that with consistent levels of funding and the political will of our local governmental partners, we can continue to assist in this process. With almost 10,000 persons identified in BiH with ICMP’s assistance, we are over halfway through the process of providing technical assistance to BiH.”

ICMP works closely with associations of families from throughout the region and with regional governments. In Bosnia and Herzegovina ICMP is also the co-founder, along with the Council of Ministers, of the Missing Persons Institute (MPI). ICMP anticipates that the newly formed managerial bodies of the MPI will hold an inaugural session next week. Of utmost importance will be the creation of the central list of missing persons, which will form part of the central records of the MPI. Creation of the central records and the Fund for Family Associations are the two major remaining items that need to be created so that the Law on Missing Persons can be implemented. The Law safeguards the right of families to know the fate of a missing loved one and to assert their rights for effective domestic remedies. The Fund for Support for Missing Persons Families will secure financial means for the realization of the rights of the relatives of missing persons, including support to their associations, and marking of exhumations and burial sites.