Archive for September, 2003

Large Group of Ambassadors Visit Exhumation Site

Tuesday, September 30th, 2003

The Embassy of the Netherlands and the International Commission on Missing Persons jointly organised a visit to the ongoing exhumation at Seljani near Rogatica.

In addition to the Netherlands, group included ambassadors and other diplomatic staff from the embassies of Austria, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Greece, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States of America. At the site they were given presentations by Kathryne Bomberger, ICMP Chief of Staff and Dr. Mark Skinner, ICMP Director of Forensic Sciences as well as Amor Masovic, co-chairman of the Federation Commission, the Commission member, Sejo Koso and the Cantonal Prosecutor who is in charge of the exhumation.The site the diplomats visited may contain the remains of as many as 22 missing persons and dates from July 1992. Over the next few weeks, the remains will be taken to ICMP facilities, where an anthropological examination will be conducted and samples taken for DNA analysis.

The Ambassadors believe that it is important for all Heads of Mission to see aspects of the exhumations process for themselves as the need to resolve the fate of missing persons is crucial for Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Ambassador of the Embassy of the Netherlands, H.E. Rob Bosscher, co-hosted the visit. The Netherlands has been the second largest contributor to ICMP’s work every year since 1998.

Ambassador Bosscher said:
“International support is vital to the process of resolving the fate of missing persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The cooperation that we see between the entities is encouraging. It is by working together on this issue that the governments of the region will be able to bring answers to the families of missing persons who have waited so long.”

ICMP Chief of Staff, Kathryne Bomberger said:
“The work of ICMP is unique in the world and it is through the generous and continuing support of our contributing governments that we have been able to achieve what we have. However, without the cooperation of the entity governments of BiH with ICMP and with each other, these results could not have been achieved”.

To date ICMP has collected a total of 61, 698 blood samples representing 24,449 missing individuals. ICMP has achieved DNA reports representing 5,684 individuals.

ICMP Recives Further Support From The Holy See

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2003

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is pleased to announce that the Holy See has generously donated a further 10,000 KM towards its work. Having contributed to ICMP in the past, this new funding shows the importance that is placed by the Vatican on the work of the ICMP mission.Gordon Bacon, Chief of Mission for ICMP, said:
“We would like to thank the Holy See for their continued support of our work. Every contribution means more families have the chance of closure, and of giving their loved ones a dignified resting place. Most of our donors from 2002 have continued their support in 2003, and we hope that many other countries who have not yet contributed to ICMP’s work will be able to do so in the near future.”

ICMP works across the Balkan region with governments, local and regional organizations, the family associations, and with the latest scientific technology to locate, recover and identify those missing during the conflicts of the last decade. By encouraging families of all ethnicities and religious persuasions to work together, ICMP believes it is a contributing factor to help them find and identify their loved ones, as well as being a major step towards peace, justice and reconciliation.

Norwegian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs visits Crni Vrh and ICMP Facilities in Tuzla

Saturday, September 6th, 2003

A top level delegation from Norway will visit the exhumation site at Crni Vrh and International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) facilities in Tuzla today. The delegation will be led by Mr. Kim Traavik, the Norwegian Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, and will include Mr. Henrik Ofsad, the Norwegian Ambassador to BiH, Mr Jon Hansen who is Counselor at the Royal Norwegian Embassy to BiH, Mr. Jan Braathu, Deputy Director General, Western Balkans Section (WBS), MFA and Mr. Jo Sletbak, Assistant Director General, WBS MFA. Ms. Cathrine Andersen, Advisor, MFA.Norway is already an ICMP donor and has pledged continuing support for ICMP’s humanitarian work, which is to work with the families of the missing to find and identify their loved ones.

There are approximately 40 000 people missing in the region of former Yugoslavia, up to 30,000 of them in Bosnia and Herzegovina. When the work at Crni Vrh is completed in two to three weeks’ time, it is likely to prove to be the largest mass grave in the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina to date. Over 300 bodies and partial remains have been recovered so far. ICMP Forensic Archeologists and Anthropologists are taking an active part in the exhumations, working closely with local Commissions’ and court representatives and ICTY teams.

The Norwegian delegation will first visit the Crni Vrh mass grave site, then go on to the Podrinje Identification Project (PIP) in Tuzla, which currently stores around 4,200 body bags containing mortal remains exhumed from areas around Srebrenica. They will also visit the ICMP Identification Coordination Center (ICC) which is the center of the ICMP data base for identification, matching DNA profiles from mortal remains with the DNA of blood samples given by family members of the missing.

There have been 47,411 blood samples collected in the region, 37,985 in BiH. To date ICMP DNA analysts have made 4,348 DNA match reports, of which almost 3,500 cases have been closed, enabling the families of these persons to recover the remains of their loved ones and have closure.