Archive for ?????, 2006

NATO Commander Recognizes Importance Of Resolving Fate of Missing

????????, ????? 28th, 2006

The Commander of NATO in Bosnia and Herzegovina, US Brigadier General Louis Weber was moved today after visiting an exhumation site near Zvornik where the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) assists in excavations.
The site, Čančari 10, is a known secondary site previously identified by the International Crime Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in 1998. ICMP experts performed geophysical analysis in August 2005 prior to its excavation. Resistivity testing revealed additional information on the grave.
“Geophysical analysis of the site has further confirmed it as a large secondary mass grave”, said the Head of ICMP’s Excavations and Examination Division, Jon Sterenberg explaining the work of ICMP’s anthropologists and archeologists in excavation of mass graves. It is expected that excavations at Čančari 10 will last for another three weeks.
“Preliminary evidence from the site suggested it is related to the primary site located at Branjevo military farm, north of Zvornik, although this will be further assisted by DNA matching and profiling at ICMP,” said Sterenberg.
The bodies had been buried for some time in a primary mass grave, the perpetrators then disturbed the original location and reburied many of them, using heavy machinery, in smaller secondary mass graves in an attempt to hide the evidence.
“I was deeply affected to see what perpetrators were able to do in executing and hiding the crimes”, said General Weber. “The perpetrators have to be brought to justice”.
General Weber visited ICMP Re-association Center in Lukavac, near Tuzla where the exhumed mortal remains are put back together using a combination of traditional forensic archaeology and anthropology, as well as DNA methods.
He also visited ICMP Identification Coordination Division (ICD) in Tuzla where the databases containing DNA profiles of bone samples and the DNA profiles from blood samples of family members are stored. Every day, new matches are found in ICD using ICMP’s DNA matching software.
General Weber noted that the work of ICMP is crucial in providing evidence on war crimes thus contributing to truth and justice in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

EUFOR Commander Applauds Work of ICMP

?????, ????? 17th, 2006

During a visit to International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) facilities in Tuzla on Friday, the Commander of the European Union Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Major General Gian Marco Chiarini, said he was impressed by work of the organization.
General Chiarini visited ICMP’s Podrinje Identification Project, where forensic anthropologists and pathologists examine, store and make final identifications of mortal remains of thousands of missing persons, all of which are cases related to the fall of Srebrenica in 1995, finally returning the remains to their families.
General Chiarini also visited ICMP’s Identification Coordination Division (ICD), the center where collection teams bring together blood samples from family members to obtain DNA profiles. The ICD also maintains ICMP’s Forensic Database Management System and DNA Matching Software 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.
All blood and bone samples received are bar coded at ICD prior to examination in order to preserve the confidentiality of each case.
“People do not realize how much work is involved in resolving the fate of the missing - nor how complicated that work is,” General Chiarini said after his visit. “I have been impressed today by the dedication and the professionalism of the ICMP staff,” he added.

Council of Ministers Chairman Visits ICMP in Tuzla

????????, ????? 13th, 2006

During a visit to facilities of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Tuzla, eastern Bosnia, today, Chairman of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Council of Ministers Adnan Terzic stressed that families had a right to know the truth about their missing loved ones.Mr. Terzic thanked family members for their patience and for their commitment to the process of resolving the fate of the missing. Without that commitment, he said, so much progress could not have been made.

After his tour of ICMP facilities, Mr. Terzic said there had been tremendous progress over the last ten years in addressing the issue of the missing and he thanked ICMP for the assistance it had given in achieving that progress. He noted the identification of approximately half of the roughly 30,000 who went missing in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the implementation of the Missing Persons Institute, the creation of a Law on Missing Persons, and the creation of a Fund for Support for the Families of Missing Persons.

“I am here to express our engagement in the process of resolving the missing persons issue; it is a top priority for this country,” he said. He urged other government leaders also to visit ICMP facilities and for anyone who had information on the location of mass graves to come forward. “I am impressed with the unique system that ICMP has developed,” he added, “It is a system that will also help to resolve missing persons issues in other parts of the world.

ICMP, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, is the co-founder of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Missing Persons Institute and one of the drafters of the country’s Law on Missing Persons. Of the identifications made so far in Bosnia-Herzegovina, almost 8,000 have been based on DNA matches made by ICMP since November 2001. ICMP estimates that an additional 6,000 DNA-assisted identifications will be completed before the end of next year.

Although he said he was proud of the achievements made so far on the missing persons issue, Mr. Terzic said he recognized there was still a long way to go. “The process of addressing such an issue, like so many other transitional justice issues takes a long time and will never move fast enough for the victims. However, the institutions that BiH has built are unique in the world and are designed to be long-lasting, he said.