Archive for August, 2003



Honoring the International Day of the Disappeared –30 August 2003

Friday, August 29th, 2003

On the occasion of 30 August - the International Day of the Disappeared, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) calls for urgent attention to be paid to resolving the problem of missing persons in the former Yugoslavia. The anguish of not knowing the fate of a missing loved one constitutes a daily torture for these thousands of mothers, sisters, and wives, as well as other relatives. Finally knowing the truth about the fate of a missing loved one and being able to give them a dignified funeral is critical to the overall peace building and reconciliation process for these individuals and their communities.The problem of disappearances is a global problem, with cases in more than 30 countries around the world. ICMP also offers its expression of solidarity to members of the Latin American non-governmental organization FEDEFAM (Federación Latinoamericana de Asociaciones de Familiares de Detenidos- Desaparecidos), the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD), the African continental network RADIF (Réseau Africain contre les Disparitions Forcées), and other family members of the disappeared around the world.

From its side, ICMP works to encourage the development of an appropriate local process to address this issue through its government relations, forensic sciences, and civil society initiatives programs, as well as the development of the national Missing Persons Institute (MPI) in BiH.

ICMP recommends:
• Encouraging release of all relevant information to reveal the truth: courage and political will must be shown, documents in the possession of government agencies should be released; persons with information should come forward, mechanisms for witness protection put in place, and inter-state and inter-entity cooperation to be strengthened.
• Continued support for local exhumation and identification efforts. Relatives of the missing should donate blood samples to allow for the possibility of identification by DNA if needed.
• Addressing the rights of living family members of the missing through appropriate legislation such as the proposed Law on Missing Persons in BiH, with consistent social benefits that can be transferred across entity lines, care for economic, housing, education, and health issues, and possible reparations for surviving relatives.
• Pursuit of adequate memorials and justice - the BiH government should be supported in the development of a special department of the State Court to process violations of international humanitarian law.

ICMP expresses its support to associations of families of missing persons who will be commemorating this day with gatherings and events in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, the UN-Administered province of Kosovo, and FYR Macedonia. ICMP is sponsoring these events with grants and members of senior management will represent ICMP in each locality.
Gordon Bacon, Chief of Staff of ICMP said :
” By supporting these events organized by family associations we show our commitment to the process of helping families find closure, and to peace and justice in the region. We also show our solidarity with families all over the world who are missing loved ones. The right to know a missing person’s fate is part of international humanitarian law and we will continue in our efforts to find and identify the thousands of missing. By doing so we recognise the human rights both of the missing and of their families.”

ICMP Forensic Experts are Participates in this Year’s Largest Gathering of World-Renowned DNA Experts

Friday, August 29th, 2003

International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is going to be present at the Third European American School in Forensic Genetics and Mayo Clinic Course in Advanced Molecular and Cellular Medicine. The Course will take place in Zagreb, Croatia between the 1st and 5th September 2003.Our scientists will be in position to discuss their work with the most respected experts all over the world in the fields of Forensic Genetics. Possibility to take part in such a high profiled gathering was given to us as recognition of our developed scientific researching as well as our humanitarian role in the region. We cooperate closely with all local Governments and institutions that are working in process of identification of missing persons.

Gordon Bacon, Chief of Staff of ICMP, stated: ” ICMP has been present in the region for seven years. Unfortunately there are more than 40 000 people missing after conflicts that happened in the recent past, we put all our efforts to help the finding and identification of the missing, by developing the DNA techniques of identification we help families find a closure. ”

Edwin Huffine, Head of Forensics Scientific Department, explained: ” The Croatian DNA labs are the pioneers in this region for using DNA testing to aid in the identification of the missing and the ICMP has enjoyed great and increasing cooperation with the Croatian experts and authorities. During the past two years the ICMP’s DNA system has developed into one of the world’s leaders in this field and is currently producing between 300-400 DNA reports per month. The experience of both Croatian and ICMP scientists demonstrates that using DNA testing on a large-scale to help identify the missing is not just a possibility, it is a reality.”