The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) together with the Missing Persons Institute of Bosnia and Herzegovina (MPI) officially announced the creation of the MPI Central Records on Missing Persons (CEN). ICMP’s assistance in the creation of the CEN will help MPI expedite the verification of the list and other data relevant to missing persons cases from the BiH conflict, in accordance with the BiH Law on Missing Persons and through procedures promulgated in the Book of Rules on the CEN.
“The creation of the Central Records of missing persons from the conflicts relevant to Bosnia and Herzegovina marks a milestone in the work of the Missing Persons Institute,” said Adam Boys, ICMP’s Chief Operating Officer. “This means that for the first time BiH is in a position to provide accurate and reliable information regarding cases of missing persons. We hope that the verified records will contribute to ending the political manipulation of numbers of missing persons. The Central Records will also help families of the missing access social benefits, once the Law on Missing Persons is fully implemented,” he added.
“On behalf of the MPI Steering Board, I would like to thank the International Commission on Missing Persons on the support they provided us in the creation of CEN. Today we made the third big step towards the successful resolution of the missing persons issue, after passing of the Law on Missing Persons and forming of the MPI”, said Zoran Perković, chairman of the BiH MPI Steering Board.
“The Missing Persons Institute has so far completed a massive work on processing the CEN data. We now need to continue with the verification process, which will now run much faster. The final verification of CEN will prevent further politicization of the missing persons issue in BiH”, said Amor Mašović, member of the BiH Missing Persons Institute’s Board of Directors.
In addition to the provision of technical assistance to BiH in the field of excavations and identifications through large-scale DNA testing, ICMP continues to build the capacities of the MPI through the provision of assistance in the creation of CEN. The CEN consists of the 12 lists and databases, which include the database of the ICMP, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the former BiH Federation Commission on Missing Persons, the former Office for Missing and Detained Persons of Republika Srpska and the former State Commission on Missing Persons.
MPI is currently in the process of verifying a mass volume of missing persons’ data within the Central Records in accordance with the MPI Book of Rules on Verification Procedure. ICMP assisted in this process by providing MPI with custom-made software, which is based on ICMP’s internal Forensic Database Management System (fDMS) and by transferring its historical data.
Once completely verified, the Central Records will be of enormous help to MPI in understanding how to strategically address the remaining missing persons’ cases in BiH. It will also allow the MPI to examine missing persons cases closed prior to the implementation of ICMP’s DNA-led process in November 2001.