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Amnesty Urges Balkans to Investigate War Missing

  • VOA News

A Bosnian Muslim woman prays along a corridor with rooms where inmates were tortured, during the 20th anniversary of the closure of the Omarska detention camp in Omarska, Bosnia and Herzegovina, August 6, 2012.
People missing in the Balkans

  • Croatia - More than 2,300 remain missing following the 1991-1995 war
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina - More than 30,000 reported missing. The fate of more than 8,700 remains unknown
  • Macedonia - At least 20 reported missing during the country’s 2001 ethnic conflict. They include 12 Macedonians, six Albanians and one Bulgarian national
  • Kosovo - More than 1,700 remain unaccounted for following the 1998-1999 armed conflict
  • Montenegro - 83 Bosnians went missing after fleeing to Montenegro to escape conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and then being forcibly returned there. At least 20 were killed in a prison camp, while the fate of 34 remains unknown
  • Source: Amnesty International, ICRC, Institute for War and Peace Reporting
Amnesty International is calling on Balkan governments to investigate the fate of some 14,000 people who are still unaccounted for since the region's conflicts in the 1990s.

The group said Wednesday the missing are a daily source of pain for relatives wanting to learn the fate of their loved ones.

Amnesty's Europe and Central Asia Program Director, Jezerca Tigani, said although some of those responsible have faced trial at the UN war crimes court for the former Yugoslavia, the Hague tribunal is nearing the end of its mandate.

She said the major obstacles to bringing more perpetrators to justice is a "persistent lack of political will in all countries in the region."

Nearly 35,000 people were reported missing as a result of enforced disappearances or abductions during the conflicts that tore apart the former Yugoslavia.

Amnesty's statement comes a day ahead of the International Day of the Missing, which marks the number of people missing as a result of conflicts around the world.