ICMP to Collect Blood Samples in Switzerland

Article posted on June 29, 2005

Blood collection teams from the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) will be visiting Basel, Baar, Geneva, and Yverdon in Switzerland from July 1 to July 3 to collect blood samples from family members of persons missing from the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia.The blood samples are needed for DNA identification of remains found in grave sites across the former Yugoslavia. Since the year 2000, ICMP has collected over 71,180 blood samples from family members, relating to 25,721 missing individuals from the region. As DNA is used to trace genetic links with family members, samples are needed from several family members for each missing person. Of the missing persons on its database, ICMP has already found DNA matches for 7,706 individuals.

ICMP is actively collecting blood samples from family members, and as there are large numbers of refugees living in other countries, ICMP extended its outreach campaign last year to family members living outside the former Yugoslavia. This visit will be the second ICMP blood collection campaign in Switzerland.

Identification of the missing from the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, many of whom are still being exhumed from mass graves, where remains have been separated and commingled, would have been impossible without the use of DNA. In 1999, ICMP scientists revolutionized the use of DNA methods to identify large numbers of missing persons by building complex databases of DNA profiles of family members and of bone samples from exhumed remains, and by developing software that could find blind family matches between the two databases.

An ICMP DNA matching report indicates identity with a certainty of at least 99.95 percent.

The ICMP blood collection campaign in Switzerland will be done in cooperation with local associations and cultural clubs gathering members from the former Yugoslavia. ICMP is also appealing to family members of the missing living outside the region who plan to visit the former Yugoslavia during their holidays to contact one of ICMP’s regional blood collection centers if they have not already given a blood sample. Giving a blood sample is simple, safe and painless; just four small drops of blood are required, but the sample must be given under sterile conditions.

ICMP teams will be present at the following locations in Switzerland:

Friday, July 1, 2005

Basel
10AM - 10PM Blood Collection
Location: Conference Room Tokyo
Address: Centralbahnstrasse 14, 4002 Basel
Tel +41 61 295 39 39
Tel/ Fax +41 61 295 39 89
ICMP cell phone number: +387 61 229 786

Geneva
10AM - 10PM Blood Collection
Location: Albanian University Centre
Address: Rue de Lyon 112 CP 539, Geneva
ICMP cell phone number: +387 61 485 511
Saturday, July 2, 2005

Baar
12AM - 10PM Blood Collection
Location: Bosnian Association Spreca
Address: Bosnischer Verein ruessemftr.5B, Baar
Contact Person: Ahmet Ibranovic
Tel +41 79 775 7953
Tel/ Fax+41 41 712 1037
ICMP cell phone number: +387 61 229 786

Yverdon
12PM - 10PM Blood Collection
Location: Conference Room Hotel Expo
Address: 1442 Montagny, Yverdon
Tel +41 24 447 5255
Tel/ fax +41 24 445 2385
ICMP cell phone number: +387 61 485 511
Sunday, July 3, 2005

Baar
10AM - 10PM Blood Collection
Location: Bosnian Association Spreca
Address: Bosnischer Verein ruessemftr.5B, Baar
Contact Person: Ahmet Ibranovic
Tel +41 79 775 7953
Tel/ Fax+41 41 712 1037
ICMP cell phone number: +387 61 229 786

Yverdon
10AM - 10PM Blood Collection
Location: Conference Room Hotel Expo
Address: 1442 Montagny, Yverdon
Tel +41 24 447 5255
Tel/ fax +41 24 445 2385
ICMP cell phone number: +387 61 485 511