Principal Deputy High Representative H.E. Ambassador Roderick Moore visited the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) facilities in Tuzla today. In his first visit to ICMP, the PDHR toured ICMP’s Identification Coordination Division (ICD) and the Podrinje Identification Project (PIP).
Accompanied by ICMP’s Chief Operating Officer, Adam Boys, the PDHR first visited PIP, which was specifically created to assist in the identification of persons missing from the 1995 fall of Srebrenica, and where mortal remains of these victims are examined and stored until final identification. The PDHR saw first-hand how ICMP forensic experts conduct ante-mortem and post-mortem data comparisons, and assist domestic authorities in making a final determination of identity so that families can bury their loved ones with dignity.
The PDHR also visited ICD, where ICMP receives, submits for processing, archives, and matches all blood samples collected from relatives of missing persons and all bone samples from exhumed mortal remains received from government authorities throughout the former Yugoslavia and from other parts of the world. Having been bar-coded to ensure anonymity the samples are sent to ICMP’s laboratories for DNA analysis. Once extracted, the DNA profiles are entered into ICMP’s database and compared to each other to find possible matches.
“ICMP has taken exceptional steps to assist the countries of this region to resolve thousands of missing persons cases. This work is extremely important for the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina because without addressing the crimes that took place the families of the missing will not receive the justice and fair treatment that they deserve. With one third of those missing from the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina still to be accounted for it is vital that ICMP and the Missing Persons Institute (MPI) with the support of the State and Entity Governments continue their important work”, PDHR Roderick Moore said following his visit to ICMP.
ICMP’s mandate is 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. ICMP pioneered the use of DNA technology to identify large numbers of missing persons. Today ICMP has helped to scientifically identify 18,000 missing persons and its database houses 150,000 genetic samples relative to missing persons in over 20 countries.