EU maintains support for ICMP, helps Bosnia and Herzegovina find missing persons

The European Union has granted three million euros to the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) 2016, for a two-year project to continue helping the Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) authorities to locate and identify the estimated 7,000 persons who are still missing from the 1992-95 conflict.

Under the EU-funded project, ICMP, a treaty-based International organization headquartered in the Hague,  will continue to help the authorities in BIH address the interrelated issues of unidentified remains held in BiH mortuaries and misidentifications that occurred before ICMP introduced DNA testing in 2001. ICMP will maintain Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology activities and will continue to deliver DNA matching and identification. It will also seek to ensure increased use of its Online Inquiry Center (OIC) by individuals and organizations in BiH.

Previous EU funds have been a significant factor in enabling ICMP to help the authorities in BIH account for more 23,000 persons – more than 75 percent of all those who went missing during the conflict,” said the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans program, Matthew Holliday . “However, at least 7,000 are still missing – and that’s why it is critical that continued financial support is made available so that ICMP can maintain its assistance to BiH to search for and identify the missing and fulfill the rights of the families of the missing, Holliday added”

The Head of the EU Delegation to BIH and EU Special Representative in BIH Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, said that helping the authorities to fulfil their obligations to families of the missing is our common moral duty. It will also contribute to efforts to strengthen the rule of law, and support peace and stability in the country. “From an enlargement perspective, the ICMP project will help to address concerns that were raised in the European Commission’s 2016 BiH Country Report, which characterized the unresolved fate of missing persons as an issue of concern,” Ambassador Wigemark said.