More than 13 thousand people are still missing from the wars in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosovo, a senior official of the International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC, said in Zagreb on Wednesday.
Barbara Hintermann Marclay, the head of ICRC operations for North America, Western, Central and South-Eastern Europe, was speaking at the launch of the third edition of the “Book of missing persons within the territory of the Republic of Croatia“.
Hintermann Marclay said that there were 8,737 persons still missing in Bosnian and Herzegovina, 2,332 in Croatia, and 1,774 in Kosovo.
The book, published by the ICRC, the Croatian Red Cross and the Croatian war veterans’ ministry, records the names of the 2,332 people who went missing on the territory of Croatia during the 1991-1995 war of independence.
The first edition was published in 2007, and the second in 2010.
The war veterans minister Predrag Matic reminded everyone that more than 18 thousand people were missing at the height of the war in Croatia, at the end of 1991.
To date, more than 80 percent of the missing persons cases have been resolved one way or another, Matic said.
“Croatia has the political will, the human and technical resources for further improvements to the search for missing people“, Matic said.
The Croatian President Ivo Josipovic said that the search for the missing is the most important political and humanitarian issue impacting bilateral relations with Serbia.
“A lasting peace will only be guaranteed when the fate of the last missing person becomes known,“ Josipovic said.
“Every missing person has the right to be found and a right to their own grave,“ Josipovic emphasised.
Croatian officials claim that Croatia is pursuing its mission to find the missing, regardless of the nationality or faith of those they are searching for.
Hintermann Marclay urged Zagreb and Belgrade to do all they could to find the missing, because “Further action is needed“.
“Destroyed houses are rebuilt, many wounds heal as time passes. But for the families of missing persons, the pain gets worse with the passage of time“, she warned.
Officials from Serbia and Bosnia and Hercegovian were also present in Zagreb for the book launch.