Posts Categorized: Press Releases

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

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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…

BIH Missing Persons Institute Must Be Strengthened and Supported

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Mostar, 12 February 2015:  The BiH Missing Persons Institute (MPI) is producing remarkable results, Sanja Mulać of the MPI said today at a Town Hall meeting organized by ICMP in Mostar.

“I want to stress that despite the MPI’s limitations, a majority of persons that were registered as missing in Herzegovina at the end of the conflict have been found and identified and we remain committed and we are continuing to work on this process,” Ms Mulać said, adding that “This can be seen by the extraordinary results made during the process of revision of post-mortem remains from Sutina mortuary.”

The meeting brought together representatives of associations of families of missing persons, the MPI, the BiH Prosecutor’s Office, and the BiH Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees to discuss what has been done to resolve missing persons issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina so far, and what has to be done in…

Commitment and Cooperation in Resolving BiH Missing Persons Cases

Town Hall Meeting in Sarajevo
Town Hall Meeting in Sarajevo

The BiH Prosecutor’s Office is committed to the work of searching and identifying missing persons, Deputy Chief Prosecutor Gordana Tadic said today, pointing out that since 2013 the number of prosecutors working on missing persons cases has grown from one to 35.

Ms Tadic was speaking at a Town Hall meeting organized by ICMP at the Hotel Sarajevo in Sarajevo. The meeting brought together representatives of associations of families of missing persons, the BiH Missing Persons Institute (MPI), the BiH Prosecutor’s Office, and the BiH Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees to discuss what has been done to resolve missing persons issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina so far, and what has to be done in the future.

Ema Cekic, from the Association of Families of Missing Persons, Vogosca, called for a common approach by BIH institutions, including the MPI and the State Prosecutor’s Office. “Cooperation among the associations of families of…

New Initiative to Find Missing Persons in Iraq

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Senior government officials and legal experts from Iraq completed a three-day seminar in The Hague today that focused on the use of forensic evidence in court-led processes regarding mass graves and missing persons.

The seminar brought together legal experts from domestic and international courts to assess and strengthen the capacity of the Iraqi justice system to address the issue of the missing effectively, and to formulate specific recommendations for legal reforms that will facilitate progress in this area.

The seminar was organized as part of an initiative of the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights (MHR).

The seminar examined ways of

  • developing the standing of forensic evidence within Iraqi law to enable it to serve as primary evidence;
  • strengthening the role of prosecutors regarding the collection of forensic evidence;
  • harmonizing the Law on Mass Graves, the Law on Forensics (amended 2013) concerning the Medical Legal Institute, and criminal procedure law;
  • examining legal protections for subjects of forensic…

Former ICMP Director Named in Queen Elizabeth’s New Year’s Honors List

Adam Boys named in the United Kingdom’s New Year’s Honors List as an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
Adam Boys named in the United Kingdom’s New Year’s Honors List as an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire

 

Adam Boys, Director of Operations at the International Commission on Missing Persons until October this year, has been named in the United Kingdom’s New Year’s Honors List as an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. The award recognizes more than 20 years of work in Bosnia and Herzegovina, initially delivering humanitarian aid and subsequently promoting post-war recovery and reconciliation.

“The OBE is a great honor, and I believe it particularly reflects a growing recognition of the importance of the work that ICMP is doing throughout the world to tackle the problem of missing persons in a systematic and effective way,” Boys said.


Boys, who was seriously injured in a car crash while helping to deliver aid in Herzegovina in 1994, served as Chief Financial Officer for the UK’s mission to the International Conference on the Former Yugoslavia in 1995 and 1996….

ICMP Treaty Reflects Urgent Need to Tackle Missing Persons Problem in New Way

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The treaty signed in Brussels on 15 December granting the International Commission on Missing Persons a new legal basis for global operations “reflects an emerging international recognition of the scale and seriousness of the missing persons problem – and the urgent need to address this problem in a new way,” ICMP Commissioner Knut Vollebæk wrote in a column which appeared in the Norwgian daily newspaper Vårt Land today.

“Till recently there tended to be a view that cases of missing persons are an inevitable byproduct of war and disaster and that as such they can be dealt with through humanitarian and disaster-management strategies,” Commissioner Vollebæk wrote. “However, this perception has been radically altered in the last two decades, as the missing persons problem – in every part of the world – has come to be viewed as systemic.”

Noting that “there is now widespread recognition that this is not first and…