In order to commemorate the International Day of the Disappeared, which is marked on 30 August, Centre for Civic Education (CCE) urged the decision makers, especially the ones from government, to show far greater level of thoughtfulness in actions related to discovering the fate of people who disappeared during the wars from nineties, as well as in the track record in punishment of those responsible for war crimes, and the establishment of justice and reconciliation throughout the region of former Yugoslavia.
All states from region should have, not only moral, but also a legal obligation in relation to the victims, their families and the society, to shed the light on fates of persons who disappeared during the wars, bring the perpetrators of war crimes before the justice as well as the ones who issued the orders, but also to continue providing support to people who suffered the most.
Institutions do little, or almost nothing, to reveal the fate of missing persons, as well as to resolve much wider problem caused by such inaction. As if they are waiting for someone else to do their job for them, or to find a solution through certain regional mechanisms or approaches. There is almost no proactive approach by competent institutions, thus leaving the public uninformed on this matter.
Unfortunately, even today, two decades after the wars in the region, we still speak about thousands of persons who disappeared in this territory. Therefore, it is first necessary to gather all the information on tombs and locations of tragedy on the territory of each state. According to the data of International Red Cross – 34 886 persons disappeared during the period 1991-2001. They are still searching for the remains of more than 11 000 people, while in Montenegro 62 persons are missing.
Remembering the victims of enforced disappearance during the armed conflicts is important because that is an additional opportunity to urge the states as well the societies of post-Yugoslav states to work with a constant devotion to discover the fate of all those who died during the wars from nineties. Culture of remembrance is an important element in facing the past, and in that manner we contribute in the satisfaction of justice for the victims. However, political will is crucial in order to move forward in this direction, we need to show higher level of political will to discover all those perpetrators of war crimes and punish them in a legally adequate manner, as well as to find all the remains of those who lost their lives during the wars from nineties. As far as the region remains uninformed on the fate of 11 000 persons, it will be difficult to discuss sustainable peace and reconciliation.
Tamara Milaš, programme associate at the CCE and spokesperson of Coalition for RECOM in Montenegro