ICMP’s Chairman Ambassador Thomas Miller and Commissioners, including Her Majesty Queen Noor, former Prime Minister Willem Kok and Ambassador Rolf Ekéus met the Chairman of the BiH Presidency Bakir Izetbegović and the Chairman of the BiH Council of Ministers Vjekoslav Bevanda on a two day visit to Sarajevo.
The Commission members discussed regional cooperation with the President of the Commission on Missing Persons from Croatia, Colonel Ivan Grujic and his counterpart from Serbia, Veljko Odalovic, as well as the three directors of the Missing Persons Institute of Bosnia and Herzegovina – Marko Jurisic, Amor Masovic and Milutin Misic.
The Commissioners also met the members of the Steering Board of the newly founded Regional Cooperation Body which represents families from all parts of the former Yugoslavia. The family representatives expressed their unreserved support for the work of ICMP as a guarantor of non-discrimination and objectivity and called for continued international assistance to the process.
The purpose of the visit was to applaud the efforts of authorities in BiH and the region for the efforts in accounting for over 70% of the missing and to ensure that they remain vigilant in accounting for the approximately 12,000 persons still missing in the region.
“Your efforts here in the Western Balkans and particularly in Bosnia and Herzegovina have set the standard for how this issue should be dealt with. You have built high-level institutions that have demonstrated your commitment to search for persons regardless of their ethnic, religious or national origin. By developing an approach grounded in the rule of law you have sent a signal to the world that brutality will be uncovered, that the truth will be told. But you must not stop now,” Ambassador Thomas Miller said.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, ICMP’s Commissioners expressed dismay at the increasing politicization of the issue of the missing and the fact that the 2004 Law on Missing Persons has still not been fully implemented. Furthermore, they noted that they Central Records of the Missing Persons Institute should be verified without further delay. As the ICMP Chairman noted, “these delays only result in furthering the anguish of the families of the missing.”
ICMP was established at the initiative of U.S. President Clinton in 1996 at the G-7 Summit in Lyon. Its primary role is to ensure the cooperation of governments in locating and identifying those who have disappeared during armed conflict or as a result of human rights violations.
ICMP’s other commissioners include Rt. Hon. Michael Portillo, Ambassador Carolina Barco and Chairman Emeritus Mr. James V. Kimsey. ICMP’s world headquarters is in Sarajevo.