SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina, June 16 (AP) – A Bosnian-based lab set up to identify people missing from wars in the former Yugoslavia is helping Chile identify victims of disappearances during the South American country’s “dirty war” on dissidents in the 1970s, officials said Monday.

Chile and the International Commission on Missing Persons signed an agreement and the first 43 bone samples and 73 reference samples have arrived in Sarajevo for testing, the commission’s Bosnia-based lab said in a statement.

“This is a very important agreement for us,” said Dr. Gloria Ramirez-Donoso, of the Chilean Justice Ministry’s Legal Medical Services. “ICMP has opened a real opportunity for us to achieve justice in our cases.”

She said the bone samples delivered for analysis to the lab came from a burial site at Calama, in a desert region in northern Chile.

According to an official report written after civilian rule was restored in Chile in 1990, 3,197 people were killed for political reasons during Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s 1973-1990 dictatorship, including 1,197 “disappeared,” who were later declared dead.

The International Commission on Missing Persons, established in 1996, runs one of the most sophisticated DNA laboratories in the world. It developed its system of mass-scale DNA testing to assist in the identification of bodies from the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. It helped in the identification of victims of the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York and the victims of Hurricane Katrina, as well as the victims of Asian tsunami in 2004. The agency is also helping Iraqi authorities.