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The Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina

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CHIEF PROSECUTOR AND ICMP SUPPORT THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE REVIEW PROCESS CONCERNING UNIDENTIFIED MORTAL REMAINS KEPT IN REPOSITORY FACILITIES

05.06.2013. 15:00
It is expected that a detailed review of 9,300 cases in BiH facilities storing the remains will lead to new identifications.

The review process in all mortuaries and ossuaries in BiH, which was initiated by the Prosecutor's Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina, commenced on June 5, 2013 with activities undertaken at the town cemetery "Sutina" in Mostar. The main actors in the review process shall be the Missing Persons Institute of BiH, Entity Prosecutor's Offices, Prosecutor's Office of Brčko District and the Prosecutor’s Office of BiH whose aim shall be to establish the facts concerning the facilities i.e. to make a list of all unidentified human remains kept in 12 facilities in BiH.

The facilities used for keeping the remains in both entities currently store approximately 9,300 unidentified cases. The data collected suggest that these cases represent 2,500 different individuals for which the ICMP has received bone samples and has extracted genetic profiles. However, these genetic profiles were not compatible with any of over 9,000 complete "sets" of blood samples in the ICMP's database, which the ICMP received from some 18,000 relatives of the missing persons.

The list will determine the status of each individual case and assess what steps need to be taken to have them resolved. ICMP will assign its team of anthropologists to assist the Prosecutor's Office of BiH, the BiH Missing Persons Institute (MPI), Cantonal and District Prosecutor's' Offices, the Prosecutor's Office of Brcko District and pathologists in their efforts to resolve these cases.

Chief Prosecutor - Goran Salihović stated: "The Prosecutor's Office of BiH supports all activities related to the recovery and identification of the remains of missing persons, which will help locate the missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as help the families of victims of war and war crimes to finally, after many years of searching for the remains, learn about the fate of their loved ones and to provide them a decent burial. This process is also important for the prosecution of war crimes, in which the evidence of the crimes are often based on found and identified remains of victims. We expect assistance from the state institutions and international community in this process which aims to improve the efficiency of war crimes processing in the interest of justice and the rule of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"ICMP has advised for years that unidentified remains in the BiH morgues should undergo a revision. Thanks to the initiative of the Prosecutor's Office of BiH we hope that we shall finally have progress in resolving these cases and that as a result of those we shall have new identifications. For the process to succeed close cooperation of ICMP, the Prosecutor's Office of BiH, BiH MPI, forensic pathologists and prosecutor's offices at the entity and lower levels will be required, "stated the ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger.

Over 70% of the approximately 30,000 missing persons were identified in BiH to date and mostly in cooperation with the ICMP. ICMP was established in 1996 with the aim is to ensure the cooperation of the governments in the process of locating and identifying the missing persons.


*Note on the principle of presumption of innocence

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.

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