by Dzana Brkanic
By August 28, ten videos of family members of the disappeared from across Bosnia and Herzegovina – saying who they are searching for and sharing memories of that person, with a plea for help in finding the person – will be posted on BIRN BiH’s social media.
All of them share a joint pain and hope that they will one day find the remains of their loved ones before they die.
“Considering that we have reported on war crimes and on missing persons in BiH for nearly two decades, we are well acquainted with what the families are going through. Unfortunately, we have fewer and fewer interlocutors, because families are disappearing naturally.
“This campaign is our way to be their voice, with a hope that someone who sees these videos will help them, that someone will grow a conscience and reveal where the bodies were buried,” said Denis Dzidic, executive director of BIRN BiH.
He explained that, at the end of each video, there is information on how to report locations of individual or mass graves to the Missing Persons Institute of BiH anonymously.
Within BIRN BiH’s campaign, called “I am still searching for…”, members of families of the missing have shared their own findings about their loved ones’ fates.
Some went missing in the area of Sarajevo and its surroundings, others in Mostar, Bugojno, Zvornik and other places in Bosnia. BIRN BiH spoke to fathers, mothers, sisters and children of the missing, and many of them described their love for, and memories of, their loved ones.
All of them asked for help, highlighting that many members of their families did not live to bury their loved ones. Many of them would give everything and pay for the information, they said in the filming.
Around 30,000 people went missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1992-5 war and the search for more than 7,000 of them is still ongoing.
The International Day of the Disappeared is marked each August 30, as a day of remembrance of and tribute to people across the globe, who went missing in armed conflicts, crimes against humanity or as a result of violations of basic human rights.
The campaign is being implemented with the support of the Global Initiative for Justice, Truth and Reconciliation consortium.