EXPEDITING THE SEARCH FOR AND IDENTIFICATION OF ABOUT 7,000 MISSING PERSONS - TOPIC OF THE MEETING OF OFFICIALS OF THE PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE OF BIH, INSTITUTIONS OF BIH AND THE MICT CHIEF PROSECUTOR SERGE BAMMERTZ23.05.2018. 14:46
Acting Chief Prosecutor of the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH- Gordana Tadić and officials of the Special Department for War Crimes, Director of the State Investigation and Protection Agency - Perica Stanić, Officials of the Missing Persons Institute (MPI) of Bosnia and Herzegovina, representatives of ICMP and Red Cross met with the MICT Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz to discuss the process of exhumations, the search and identification of missing persons.
There are still about 7,000 missing persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the search for and identification of missing persons and their remains is a very important segment in the prosecution of war crimes cases in terms of evidence. This process should be expedited mostly for the sake of the families of missing persons who have been searching for their closest relatives for more than 23 years.
In 2017 the employees of the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH took part in 115 cases of exhumations and searches for the missing persons in all parts of BiH, often at inaccessible locations. The BiH Prosecutor’s Office is the initiator of activities aiming to expedite the process of exhumations and search for the missing.
Chief Prosecutor Brammertz highlighted that BiH institutions should continue to work intensively on these activities, while the MICT and the international community will provide support in this process.
It was emphasized at the meeting that the BiH Prosecutor’s Office, SIPA, Missing Persons Institute as well as other institutions involved in this process are undertaking continuous activities on search for information about possible locations of mass and individual grave sites, as well on coordination of all activities required to ensure that exhumations are carried out without delays.
It was also highlighted that following the end of war Bosnia and Herzegovina has unearthed and identified about 80% of missing persons, which is a significant result in this process, but that approximately 7,000 persons are still missing, which is 2.5 times more than the number of people missing in other countries in region.
A crucial challenge in continuing the search for missing persons is the lack of quality information about the locations of mass and individual grave sites, hence in the coming period an appeal should be made to all persons in possession of information about mass or individual grave sites, asking them to provide this information to institutions that are searching for the missing persons.
Clear and continuous political support is needed for the process of search for the missing persons in BiH, as well as the support and trust of families of victims in the institutions that are tasked with this job.
Dear Media Representatives, when transmitting news please bear in mind that persons referred to in the news and information of the BiH Prosecutor's Office, have the status of a suspect or an accused person. Let us remind you of the principle of presumption of innocence, which defines that no person shall be considered guilty until his/her guilt has been established by a final verdict.