The European Union provided €3 million in support to the efforts to locate and identify persons who are still missing from the 1990s conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) said on Friday.
The funds will be allocated under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance.
“The EU’s continuous assistance to the ICMP aims to support their efforts in addressing unresolved fates of missing persons as well as in helping the authorities to fulfil their obligations towards the families of the missing. The families have right to know the fate and whereabouts of their missing relatives. This is not only our common moral duty but it would also contribute to strengthening the rule of law, peace and stability in the country,” said Ambassador Johann Sattler, Head of the EU Delegation and EU Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The new funding will enable ICMP to conduct a policy dialogue with Bosnian authorities and families of the missing with the goal of building Bosnian capacities in DNA testing. ICMP will also continue to assist the country with forensic expertise, including the recovery of mortal remains from mass and clandestine graves and support in conducting DNA-based identifications.
“The funds from the European Union will enable ICMP to help BiH authorities to fulfil their legal obligation to investigate cases of missing persons from the conflict resulting in finding the highest number of persons in a post-conflict scenario. Thousands remain missing and efforts to account for them must continue,” said Matthew Holliday, Head of ICMP Western Balkans Program, adding that Bosnia has obligations under domestic and international law “to secure the rights of the families of the missing that must be met, including full implementation of the BiH Law on Missing Persons.”
ICMP-led efforts have made it possible to account for more than 70 percent of the estimated 40,000 people who were missing at the end of the 1990s conflict in the former Yugoslavia.