Representatives of associations of missing persons expressed satisfaction today to have the opportunity to initiative dialogue in communities with serious violations of human rights. More than 50 members of associations of missing persons participated at the conference in Prijedor aimed at models of confronting the past and building foundation for the future. The conference was organized by Association Izvor, with the support of International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). (more…)
Archive for September, 2006
A group of post-graduate students of the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations of Malaysia (IDFR) on Wednesday visited the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) facilities in Sarajevo and Tuzla. The students are pursuing Masters Program in Social Science at IDFR and came for an educational visit to ICMP from Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Laos, China, Indonesia, Pakistan and Yemen.
The post-graduate students visited the ICMP headquarters in Sarajevo where they were briefed on ICMP efforts to secure the co-operation of Governments and other authorities in locating and identifying missing persons.
“This is not the first time that ICMP has been visited by postgraduates from around the world. It shows that future world’s leaders can learn from methods that ICMP uses in assisting Governments to address the issue of persons missing from armed conflicts on political, technical and social level”, said ICMP Deputy Chief of Staff Andreas Kleiser.
To learn about ICMP’s scientific efforts to locate and identify missing persons, Malaysian delegation visited ICMP’s facilities in Tuzla, where forensic anthropologists and pathologists examine, store and make final identifications of mortal remains of thousands of missing persons. They also visited ICMP’s center where collection teams bring together blood samples from family members to obtain DNA profiles. During their visit to ICMP, students learned how the dissasociated bodies are put back together using a combination of traditional forensic archaeology and anthropology, as well as DNA methods. Students were impressed with DNA matching on the mass scale which ICMP performs by its matching program that is used to match DNA extracted from the blood samples of family members of the missing and DNA profiles from bone samples exhumed from grave sites.
The students were pleased to learn that ICMP helped in the identification of persons who have gone missing during the tsunami in 2004. ICMP staff who traveled to Thailand briefed the students on technical aspects of the DNA-led identification applied for tsunami victims. ICMP issued more than 800 DNA reports in relation to tsunami identification efforts.
“I am impressed with the success of ICMP in identifying victims despite the difficult circumstances they are faced with. ICMP is doing an important job of establishing the truth about missing persons and ending the uncertainty of their family members”, said a post-graduate student from Indonesia, adding that ICMP is “a unique organization of this kind in the world which uses both science and cooperation with governments to resolve the fates of the missing”.
In one of her first visits outside Sarajevo since taking over the position, the French Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Maryse Berniau, toured facilities of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) today. Ambassador Berniau praised the ten years achievements of ICMP in assisting BiH in the process of accounting the missing persons from the conflict.
The issue of persons missing from armed conflicts, abuses of human rights and other crimes against humanity is a global concern. ICMP endeavors to secure the co-operation of Governments and other authorities in locating and identifying persons missing as a result of armed conflicts, other hostilities or violations of human rights and to assist them in doing so.
Ambassador Berniau stated that the work of ICMP contributes to the process of truth and justice in Bosnia and Herzegovina. “Ten years after the war, it is important for families of missing to hear about their beloved ones so they can look to the future. Missing persons do not have color, they are all victims”, said Ambassador Berniau and reminded that the French Government now financially contributes to the work of ICMP. “I praised the work of ICMP in the expertise they give and their capacity building efforts in resolving this issue”.
“France has joined other 15 other countries in supporting the work of ICMP. Given the dedication of the French Government to the development of justice and good government, this donation is a prominent expression of this commitment”, said ICMP Chief of Staff, Kathryne Bomberger, who accompanied Ambassador Berniau.
The French Ambassador visited the ICMP facility that performs DNA identifications on biological samples taken from the missing that are compared to reference samples provided by surviving family members. She also visited ICMP facilities where scientists combine DNA and forensic anthropology to re-associate fragmented mortal remains exhumed from secondary mass graves, and where mortal remains of the 1995 fall of Srebrenica victims are stored and examined for the final determination of identity.
Approximately 30,000 individuals are said to have gone missing as a consequences of conflicts in BiH. Today it is estimated that 15,000 persons are still missing. Since November 2001, ICMP has assisted in identifying over 10,000 missing individuals in the region.