Insufficient efforts of authorities in relation to disclosure of fate of the disappeared

Association of Families of Disappeared, Kidnapped and Murdered Persons “Red Peony”, in cooperation with the Centre for Civic Education (CCE), today organized a press conference on the occasion of 30 August – International Day of the Disappeared.

Tamara Milaš, programme associate at the CCE and spokesperson of the Coalition for RECOM in Montenegro, said that it is necessary to point out the need to illuminate fate of disappeared persons since it is an obligation towards the victims, their families and the whole society. Milaš reminded the public that 57 people are still deemed disappeared, estimating that this figure has declined slightly in recent years, indicating the still inadequate efforts of authorities to disclose the fate of the disappeared.

cgo-cce-crveni-bozur-medjunarodni-dan-nestalih (7)

“Also, on behalf of the CCE, as well as the Coalition for RECOM, we use the opportunity today to call again the Montenegrin Prosecution to, in accordance with its War Crimes Investigation Strategy, intensify efforts to illuminate the fate of all the disappeared during the 90th warfare in territory of former SFRY and the fight against non-punishment of war crimes by more effective investigation, prosecution, trial and punishment in accordance with international standards, but also to proactively publish information on all undertaken actions, so that the public would know whether something and to what extent it is being done to resolve this issues “ appealed Milaš.

“After more than twenty years of wars that have taken place in the region, there are still thousands of missing persons in this area. It is essential to work on establishing facts about all fatalities and identifying all tombs and places of suffering on the territory of each of the countries where we have had war events. According to data of the International Committee of Red Cross 34,886 persons disappeared in the period 1991-2001. Each of these missing persons has his/her own life story and it must be fully illuminated, and we must also maintain and mark the memory of victims of forced disappearance during armed conflicts. Building a culture of remembrance contributes to fulfillment of justice for victims, but also to strengthening of responsibility in society that must not tolerate impunity of war crimes because it destroys foundations of rule of law”, she concluded.

Ljubiša Filipović, president of the Association of Families of Disappeared, Kidnapped and Murdered “Red Peony”, reminded on the occasion of marking the International Day of the Disappeared, that it is high time that families “find out the fate of their loved ones no matter how hard it was. Since terrible wars in territory of the former Yugoslavia, 11,175 persons have not yet been found, of which Bosnia and Herzegovina claims 7, 228 and Croatia 2,183. Kosovo claims 1,710 people, half of whom are Serbs, Montenegrins, Roma and non-Albanians, as well as Albanians who were loyal citizens of Serbia “.

“The right of each family is to find out the truth about their member, since it is primarily human solidarity with families, and that right is guaranteed by the Geneva Conventions. Only governments in the region still do not respect these rights. As long as people who were directly and indirectly involved in mass and individual murders, rapes and liquidations of innocent and vulnerable people reside in governments in the environment, and until they do not answer for their crimes, there will be no lasting peace and reconciliation among the peoples“, he emphasized.

On this occasion, Declaration of the Association of Families of Disappeared, Kidnapped and Murdered “Red Peony” was presented, in which it is recalled that “every innocent victim is a burden to future and every noble deed is a legacy for eternity”.

The conference was also attended by Zoran Bingulac, Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia in Montenegro, as well as representatives of the Administration for Care of Refugees and the Red Cross Search Service in Montenegro.

Conference is part of the Centre for Civic Education (CGO) activities under the Transitional Justice subprogramme.

The International Committee of the Red Cross’s video on disappeared persons in territory of Former Yugoslavia has been presented at the press conference, which can be downloaded from the following link:

Svetlana Pešić, programme associate