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Bosnia-Herzegovina: Almost 17,000 still missing a decade after war ends

25-11-2004 News Release 04/140

The ICRC has published an updated list of persons who went missing during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina and whose fate has not yet been clarified.

This sixth edition of the Book of the Missing in Bosnia-Herzegovina contains the names of more than 16,600 persons still unaccounted for. It bears witness to the suffering of thousands of families in that country who, 10 years after the war ended, are still waiting for news of what happened to their missing loved ones. The previous edition of the Book of the Missing was published 18 months ago.

The book’s main purpose is to provide data for organizations trying to trace missing persons. These include various government bodies in Bosnia-Herzegovina, international organizations and the worldwide network of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The Book of the Missing can also consulted by the general public in the offices of the ICRC and Red Cross Society of Bosnia-Herzegovina. In addition, it is used by forensic experts endeavouring to identify exhumed remains. The ICRC hopes that publication of the updated book will prompt the authorities concerned and the general public to provide additional information.

The book lists the names of missing persons in alphabetical order and by place of disappearance. It also provides separate lists of persons reported missing by their families for whom no additional information has been obtained, and of persons reported missing by their families for whom the ICRC has received information about their death, but whose bodies have not yet been found.

Though recent months have seen a rise in the number of cases of identification of the remains of missing persons in Bosnia-Herzegovina, families continue to approach the ICRC to ask for tracing help. Between the end of the war in 1995 and November 2004, the ICRC received in total over 21,700 r equests to trace missing persons. More than 5,000 of these cases have been solved. At the same time, upwards of 600 families have only recently reported their missing relatives to the ICRC. As Werner Kaspar, head of the ICRC delegation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, says, " The sheer numbers express better than anything else could the anxiety of so many who have lived so long in uncertainty. "

 The list of the missing can also be found at   www.familylinks.icrc.org  

    

 For further information, please contact  

 Sanela Bajrambasic, ICRC Sarajevo, +387 33 652 407 or +387 61 102 278  

 Florian Westphal, ICRC Geneva, +41 22 730 29 30 or +41 79 217 32 26