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Europe

Remembering the disappeared in Bosnia

People all over the world go missing every day, be it in war or for political reasons. Z.B. survived a massacre during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia. To this day, he is still searching for his family members.

The International Day of the Disappeared on August 30 commemorates the people who have gone missing in war or for political reasons. Twenty years after the end of the wars in the western Balkans, 12,000 people are still unaccounted for.

Z.B. was 14 years old when the massacre occurred in the village of Zecovi in northwestern Bosnia-Herzegovina. "It was half past nine. I saw a soldier in front of the house. He had a uniform and a soldier's hat," recalls Z.B. "Women and children were already in the yard. When the soldiers started shooting, I ran to the house next door. My neighbor Milan hid me there for eight days." Today, the 39-year-old Z.B. is married and has two sons but he is still looking for his missing family members.

With the help of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), prosecutors from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia are working together to speed up the prosecution of war criminals. At the same time, the search for missing persons has been intensified in an effort to finally bring family members peace. Government commissions for missing persons meet on a regular basis to exchange information. It's an important step in discovering the truth and the process of reconciliation.