Posts Categorized: Press Releases

ICMP Assists in Locating Missing in Iraq

On 21 and 22 March, ICMP personnel together with partners from the relevant authorities, placed fences and warning signs around the main mass gravesites in Sinjar. This is the first time that any form of protection has been provided at these sites.  The signs indicate that the gravesites should not be entered “in order to protect evidence and the crime scene to safeguard victims’ rights in international courts”.

ICMP has trained more than 550 Iraqi professionals from the various institutions engaged in the process of accounting for the missing, from across sectarian and national lines. It is now training technicians to begin the process of assistance in locating and accounting for missing persons from Sinjar.

An Affirmation of the Rule of Law

ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said today that the verdict handed down by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the case of Radovan Karadzic, following legal proceedings that have lasted for more than seven years, is an important affirmation of the rule of law.

Karadzic was convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war and sentenced to 40 years in prison.

He was convicted of genocide in the area of Srebrenica in 1995, of persecution, extermination, murder, deportation, inhumane acts (forcible transfer), terror, unlawful attacks on civilians and hostage-taking. He was acquitted of the charge of genocide in other municipalities in BiH in 1992.

“Those who killed unarmed civilians, and those who consciously created the circumstances that facilitated these crimes, believed they could erase the identity of their victims permanently. They were wrong,” Bomberger said.

“The work…

Accounting for the Missing Is Key

Resolving the issue of missing persons is a key element in sustaining reconciliation and stability throughout the region, Matthew Holliday, the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program, said today during a briefing in Pristina for HRH Prince Charles, who was visiting Kosovo as part of a regional tour.

At the briefing, organized at the Presidency/Assembly Building by the Government Commission on Missing Persons in Kosovo, Prince Charles met members of family associations of the missing, as well as officials and representatives of international organizations.

ICMP has worked to address the issue of missing persons in Kosovo since 1999. Since 2003 it has helped the authorities through DNA-based identifications, working initially with the UN Interim Administration (UNMIC) and since September 2008 with the EU Rule of Law Mission (EULEX). Using DNA, ICMP has helped to identify more than 2,500 of the estimated 4,500 missing from…

Roundtable on Issue of Missing Persons in Sri Lanka

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation (Fundación de Antropología Forense de Guatemala: FAFG) held a roundtable in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, on Monday to analyze requirements for a systematic and effective process to account for those who are missing as a result of more than 25 years of conflict.

Monday’s event will be followed by a roundtable in Colombo on Thursday. This is part of an initiative organized by a consortium of agencies operating as part of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience (ICSC). The Roundtables are co-hosted by the Centre for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (CPPHR) in Trincomalee and the Centre for Human Rights Development (CHRD) in Colombo.

In November, ICMP and FAFG conducted a series of consultations in Sri Lanka with families of…

ICMP and GRULAC Countries Discuss Issue of Missing and Disappeared Persons

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Colombia’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, Juan Jose Quintana, today hosted a meeting of diplomats from the Group of Latin American Countries (GRULAC) in The Hague to highlight the work of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and to discuss the issue of missing and disappeared persons in the region.

Countries in Latin America face complex challenges related to accounting for missing persons. In some cases the numbers run into the tens of thousands. However, effective strategies have been developed and governments and other stakeholders can address the issue successfully by working with one another and with international agencies, Kathryne Bomberger, the Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons, said during the meeting.

She noted that the issue of missing persons is a global challenge. Legislative initiatives that have worked in one country may work in other countries. Also, where the issue is…

A Cornerstone of Peacebuilding – Addressing the Issue of Missing and Disappeared Persons

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The cross-cutting global challenge of accounting for missing and disappeared persons can be addressed effectively through a coherent international policy, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein told at briefing for senior diplomats at the United Nations in New York today.

The issue of missing persons and enforced disappearances is linked to international peace and security, he said. “Appropriate legislation and adequate frameworks are needed for processes to account for the missing. Mechanisms to clarify the fate of missing persons need to be transparent and depoliticised, and the needs of the missing should be at the center of any action, including families of the missing.”

The briefing on accounting for missing persons from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, migration and other involuntary causes was organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons and hosted by the United Kingdom Mission…

Czech Republic Donation to ICMP

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The Czech Republic has donated 15,000 Euros to support ICMP’s Western Balkans program. The donation was confirmed by Czech Ambassador Jakub Skalnik during a meeting this morning with the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans program, Matthew Holliday.

“This contribution will have a practical impact on our work, as activities within ICMP’s Western Balkans program, including civil society engagement, forensic operations and DNA testing and matching, are scheduled through 2019 and securing funding for these activities is essential,” Matthew Holliday said.

Ambassador Skalnik described the donation as “an expression of the Czech Republic’s continued commitment to the work of accounting for the missing from the conflict in the Western Balkans and the solidarity of the people of the Czech Republic with the people of the region.”

Republic of Serbia Signs ICMP Treaty

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The Republic of Serbia has become the ninth country to sign the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons.

ICMP has been helping the authorities in Serbia to account for missing persons since 1996. In 2001 ICMP signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the former Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and after this ICMP assisted in the excavation and identification of persons missing from the Kosovo conflict. ICMP opened an office and established a DNA laboratory in Belgrade in 2002. The laboratory was handed over to the Serbian authorities in 2006. In 2014, ICMP renewed its agreement with the Government of Serbia Commission on Missing Persons through an exchange of letters relating specifically to the provision of assistance in locating, recovering and identifying missing persons related to the conflict in Kosovo,…

Chile Signs ICMP Treaty

Ambassador María Teresa Infante of the Republic of Chile, Ambassador Elpidoforos Economou of the Republic of Cyprus, and ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger at the signing of the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons, The Hague, 14 December 2005.

Chile today became the seventh country to sign the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

In December 2014 the Agreement was signed by the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg; last month it was signed by El Salvador, and this morning in addition to Chile it was signed by the Republic of Cyprus. The Agreement recognizes ICMP as an international organization tasked with assisting countries in their efforts to address missing persons cases from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, migration and other causes. The Agreement does not…

More remains can be found; More identifications can be made

The review of BiH mortuaries being carried out under the jurisdiction of the relevant Prosecutors’ Offices with the full cooperation of the police, pathologists and the authorities, the Missing Persons Institute and ICMP demonstrates the determined efforts to investigate missing persons cases , 20 years after the conflict, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger wrote in a column that appeared on Sunday (13 December) in the daily newspaper Dnevni Avaz.

“It also highlights the very important fact that more than two decades after the war, with more than 70 percent of the missing accounted for, the effort to account for those who are still missing remains absolutely essential,” Ms Bomberger added.

For the last two years, the NN (no name) Working Group has been systematically reviewing cases of unidentified remains in BiH mortuaries, moving from one mortuary to the next. It has so far reviewed cases in Sutina, Nevesinje, Gorazde, Tavnik, Visoko and…