Posts Categorized: Press Releases

BiH Day of Remembrance for All the Missing

Forum representative Ema Cekic in front of National Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Forum representative Ema Cekic in front of National Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Members of the Forum on the Memorialization of Missing Persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina today presented a petition to the BiH Council of Ministers, the BiH Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees, and the BiH Parliament.

The petition calls on the authorities to proclaim 30 August as the “Official Day of Remembrance of All the Missing.” It also calls for full implementation of the Law on Missing Persons – which stipulates, among other things, that the authorities have an obligation to support memorialization of the missing. And it calls on the authorities, from this 30 August, to begin presenting an annual report on implementation of the Law.

“The initiative to make 30 August the “Official Day of Remembrance of All the Missing has the support of a broad cross-section of family associations from every part of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Forum representative Ema Cekic. “It is inclusive, appropriate and long overdue….

Systematic, Professional and Impartial Effort to Find the Missing Must Continue

ICMP International Commission on Missing Persons - Day 1

The authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina must maintain a systematic, professional, and impartial effort to account for the missing, even though nearly 20 years have passed since the end of the conflict, Chairman of the BiH Council of Ministers Denis Zvizdic said today.

Mr Zvizdic was speaking during a meeting in Sarajevo with Kathryne Bomberger, Director-General of the International Commission Persons (ICMP). At the meeting Ms Bomberger briefed the Chairman of the Council of Ministers on ICMP’s Stocktaking Report, which describes in detail the efforts that have been undertaken over more than two decades to account for the missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He stressed that the key institutions responsible for addressing the missing persons issue, the Missing Persons Institute and the BiH Prosecutor’s Office, must be given the political, administrative and financial support that they need in order to do their job, and all available methods should be deployed to locate…

A Joint Effort to Account for the Missing

Banja Luka RT participants discussing about ICMP's Stocktaking Report
Banja Luka RT participants discussing about ICMP's Stocktaking Report

Participants at a Roundtable organized by ICMP in Banja Luka today stressed the need to continue the joint effort to account for the missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bosnia and Herzegovina leads the world in the ratio of missing persons it has been able to account for following the conflict of the 1990s: more than 70 percent – around 23,000 of roughly 31,500 reported missing.

This has been possible because the work of accounting for the missing has been undertaken in a coordinated, systematic and science-based manner.

Since ICMP first pioneered the use of DNA in 2001, almost 15,000 DNA identifications have been made in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The sophisticated database technology developed by ICMP to match blood samples given by family members with DNA extracted from human remains is now used all over the world. In addition to a dedicated software program, this technology has required a major outreach effort to…

ICMP International Treaty to Come into Force

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ICMP is pleased to announce that the UK joins Sweden in ratifying the ICMP Framework Agreement.  With this ratification, the treaty will come into force in 30 days.  The Agreement on the Status and Functions of the ICMP was signed in Brussels on 15 December by the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Belgium, Luxembourg and Sweden.  The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg will ratify the treaty during the year.

The Agreement constitutes ICMP as a treaty-based international organization with its own system of governance and international capacities. It provides for a new organizational structure, including a Board of Commissioners as its principal organ and a Conference of State Parties.

“ICMP has now taken a major step forward in meeting the global challenge of addressing the issue of missing persons from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, migration and other causes,” said ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger.

The Framework Agreement stipulates that ICMP will establish its…

Srebrenica Mayor Visits ICMP

2015 04 03 KB and Camil Durakovic

Srebrenica Mayor Camil Durakovic and ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger met today at ICMP’s headquarters in Sarajevo. Mayor Durakovic briefed Director-General Bomberger on arrangements for the ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica Massacre on 11 July.

Director-General Bomberger noted that, since its inception in 1996, ICMP has been actively involved in the identification of the missing from Srebrenica; it played a key role in setting up the Potocari Memorial Center and it has worked continuously with families to help them find their loved ones and to ensure that they are able to assert their rights under the law.

Mayor Durakovic stressed the importance of the anniversary as a means of telling the truth of what took place at Srebrenica. He added that efforts must continue in order to ensure that the roughly 1,000 victims who are still missing from Srebrenica are accounted for.

 

The Right to the Truth

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Participants at a Roundtable organized by ICMP in Sarajevo today highlighted the underlying fact that accounting for the missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the responsibility of the authorities.

The BiH Law on Missing Persons, and the Declaration signed by Western Balkans leaders in Mostar last summer assert the fundamental obligation of the state to address the issue of missing persons, and to ensure that the rights of family members are upheld and that survivors and civil society have access to information and a proper investigation.

Officials at every level of government are obliged to cooperate – fully and effectively – in accounting for the missing, whatever their ethnicity, whatever the circumstances of their disappearance.

A key way of doing this is to consolidate, review and verify records of the missing. The BiH authorities created the Central Evidentiary List of the Missing (CEN) in 2011. However, only around half of the more…

Implement the Law on Missing Persons

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The authorities must implement the BiH Law on Missing Persons fully and as a matter of urgency, participants at a roundtable in Mostar agreed today.

The roundtable, organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), brought together representatives of family associations and the authorities as well as academic and legal experts to discuss ways of increasing the effectiveness of efforts to account for the missing.

The BiH Law on Missing Persons was enacted at the end of 2004, providing for the establishment of the Missing Persons Institute (MPI) to coordinate the search for the missing, the establishment of the Central Records of Missing Persons, and the establishment of a Fund to ensure that families of the missing receive necessary financial support. The Law also prescribes procedures for memorials.

The MPI was launched in 2005 and became fully operational in 2008.  The Central Records were created in 2011, but only half of…

Accounting for the missing is a fundamental requirement of justice

Alma Dzaferovic, the Head of the War Crimes Department in Tuzla Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office and a member of the BiH High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council
Alma Dzaferovic, the Head of the War Crimes Department in Tuzla Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office and a member of the BiH High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council

A recent survey found that an overwhelming majority of people in Bosnia and Herzegovina (more than 80 percent) believe that accounting for the missing contributes to post-war recovery and, in the long term, reconciliation, Alma Dzaferovic, the Head of the War Crimes Department in Tuzla Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office and a member of the BiH High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council, wrote in a column that appeared in the RadioSarajevo.ba news portal this week.

“A key element in the effort to account for the missing is to recognize that prosecuting criminals and searching for their victims is not something that affects just families of the missing: it affects everyone. If criminals walk free, citizens cannot rely on the protection of the law,” she wrote. “Also – in practical terms – if criminals walk free they will not be obliged to give up whatever information they may possess regarding the fate of those…

Rule of Law is Key to Accounting for the Missing

RT Lukavac

Upholding the rule of law is key to sustaining the effort to account for the missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina as the country approaches the 20th anniversary of the end of the war, participants at a roundtable in Tuzla agreed today.

The roundtable, organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), brought together representatives of family associations and the authorities as well as academic and legal experts to discuss ways of increasing the effectiveness of efforts to account for the missing.

Participants noted that prosecuting war criminals and searching for their victims is not something that affects just families of the missing: it affects everyone, because if criminals walk free, citizens cannot rely on the protection of the law, and – in practical terms – if criminals walk free they will not be obliged to give up whatever information they may possess regarding the fate of those who are still…

Authorities Must Be Actively Engaged

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Banja Luka, 17 February 2015: The authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina have to engage more actively in the process of accounting for missing persons, speakers at a Town Hall meeting organized in Banja Luka by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) said today.

“The state of BiH is still not showing sufficient effort in providing a solution for this joint problem,” said Milutin Misic, a member of the collegium of directors of the BiH Missing Persons Institute (MPI). “There must be state accountability. One of the obstacles in the process of search and identification is a lack of information – the problem lies in the fact that those who are obliged to give information are not providing it, even though they are legally obliged to do so.”

The meeting brought together representatives of associations of families of missing persons, the MPI, the BiH Prosecutor’s Office, and the BiH Ministry for…