International Day of the Disappeared: What is the Number of Missing Persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina?

August 30, 2020 12:00 PM

The Institute for Missing Persons of Bosnia and Herzegovina held a press conference to mark the International Day of Missing Persons. Amor Masovic, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Missing Persons of BiH, Fikret Bacic, Member of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Missing Persons of BiH, and Simun Novakovic, Member of the Interim Steering Committee of the Institute for Missing Persons of BiH (ICMP), addressed the press conference.

“In the central register of missing persons in BiH, we had 34,965 reported missing persons, mostly by their families, but also by various institutions. The commission has so far processed 30,624 applications,” said Amor Masovic, Avaz news portal reports.

The Missing Persons Institute of Bosnia-Herzegovina (MPI) continues its key work of finding and excavating mass graves as MPI teams began work on two key sites located in south-western Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Institute’s work at the two locations demonstrated its readiness and ability to operate as the state-level institution tasked with dealing with some 17,500 missing persons across the entire territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Work has begun on an exhumation site in Batijevica, near Goranci, Mostar, and a second site outside Posusje. Based on background information provided by MPI, the sites relate to events that took place between August 1992 and the beginning of 1993. MPI Directors Milan Bogdanic, Marko Jurisic and Amor Masovic, accompanied by a delegation including members of the MPI Advisory Board, visited the area.

Since the beginning of 2008, MPI has assisted and worked on finding, exhuming or examining  more than one hundred individual and mass grave sites across the country, with the work of the Missing Persons Institute forming the effective focal centre of the search for persons missing in BiH following the 1992-1995 conflict. MPI is currently assuming increased operational responsibility as data from CEN BiH, the Central Records of Missing Persons in Bosnia-Herzegovina, begins to be transferred to it from ICMP, the International Commission on Missing Persons.

“MPI is dedicated to its mission and to the expedited resolution of the fate of missing persons,” said Milan Bogdanic, Chairman of the MPI Board of Directors. “It is also dedicated to the creation of a central database on missing persons, and this dedication is demonstrated through the everyday attendance of MPI investigators from regional and field offices at the site assessments of individual and mass graves.”

“What we are seeing in front of us today in the caves and quarries of Hercegovina is the terrible continuing legacy, thirteen years on, of the conflicts in Bosnia-Herzegovina,” said ICMP Director-General Ms.Kathryne Bomberger, “but what we are also seeing is the ever-increasing capacity and commitment of MPI to dealing with this legacy, and to helping the country begin to put the past to bed and move towards a new stability.”

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