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Croatia: agreement signed with government on missing persons

01-08-2006 News Release

The following was issued as a press release by the ICRC 's delegation in Zagreb

The ICRC has today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of the Republic of Croatia, defining the modalities of the intended transfer to the Croatian Red Cross (CRC) of data on persons missing during past conflicts in the country. While the responsibility to search for the missing rests with the Government, the CRC will manage the cases of the missing after the ICRC closes its office in Croatia.

" Although the ICRC will close its office in Zagreb by the end of 2006, we will continue to be involved in issues relating to missing persons', says Olivier Martin, deputy head of ICRC operations in Europe.'We plan to maintain close relations with the Croatian government and continue promoting the rights of all families to obtain information about the fate of their missing relatives " .

From 1991 to 2006, families have provided the ICRC with data on their missing relatives: in total 5,774 cases. There are still 2,409 unresolved cases. The ICRC intends to transfer the collected data on the missing persons to the CRC by the end of 2006. The ICRC will work with the CRC for the remainder of 2006 and during 2007 to help the National Society's tracing service assume its new role.

In the next days the ICRC will send letters to families who have been searching for missing relatives through the ICRC or Croatian Red Cross. They will be informed about the closure of the office and the upcoming changes regarding the management of their cases.

The ICRC reiterates that the families of the missing persons have the right to know what happened to their relatives and international humanitarian law obliges the publ ic authorities to provide them with answers. This obligation is enshrined in the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols, and other international agreements that Croatia is a party to, as well as in existing domestic laws and regulations.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Martina Murgic, ICRC Zagreb, +385 98 384 192  

 Marcin Monko, ICRC Regional Delegation for Central Europe, +36 202 499 985