Posts Categorized: Press Releases

127 Srebrenica Victims Buried at the Memorial in Potočari

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After 21 years, the remains of an additional 127 victims of the Srebrenica massacre were laid to rest in Potočari today. Victims’ family members and friends gathered to pay their respects and bury their loved ones whose remains have been found in mass graves and were identified with the help of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

The estimated number of persons missing as a result of the fall of the Srebrenica and Žepa UN Safe Areas in July 1995 is approximately 8,000. By analyzing DNA profiles extracted from prost-mortem samples of exhumed remains and matching them to the DNA profiles obtained from ante-mortem samples, voluntarily provided by relatives of the missing, ICMP has so far assisted in revealing the identity of 6,925 persons missing from the July 1995 fall of Srebrenica. The total number of those accounted for (by traditional, as…

Profiles of the Missing

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At an event organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons in The Hague today, family members of missing persons from around the world described how they joined forces with others who had suffered the same trauma, in order to seek the truth about the fate of their loved ones.

“It is complex to live with ambiguous loss,” said Ram Kumar Bhandari from Nepal, whose father was arrested by police in December 2001 and has not been seen since. “It’s now been 15 years: this is a long, long wait.”

Ram, who has taken the case of his father’s disappearance through the courts, described how he suffered harassment when he sought legal redress. “We are fighting against injustice, to repair society: we are not following a path to revenge. We see the perpetrators posing in the media and leading the issues form the government…

ICMP Opens Headquarters in The Hague

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The ICMP Board of Commissioners held its 18th meeting today, in The Hague. The Commissioners, together with ICMP’s directors, discussed ICMP’s evolving role in addressing the global challenge of missing persons and examined ways of securing sustainable funding that will allow ICMP to carry out its mandate wherever it is needed in the world.

The ICMP Board of Commissioners consists of Ambassador (Ret) Miller, Her Majesty Queen Noor, Former Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok, former Norwegian Foreign Minister Knut Vollebæk, former OSCE High Commissioner for National Minorities Rolf Ekeus, UK Minister of State for Care and Support Alistair Burt, and former Thai Foreign Minister and Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Surin Pitsuwan. Dr Surin, who joined the ICMP Board of Commissioners in June, was not present at today’s meeting.

On Thursday evening, Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders, Mayor of The…

ICC Office of the Prosecutor and the International Commission on Missing Persons Sign Memorandum of Understanding

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Today, 7 July 2016, at the conclusion of a visit by the Commissioners of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Ms Fatou Bensouda, and ICMP Chairman Thomas Miller signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen cooperation.

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Ambassador Miller was accompanied by ICMP Commissioners Her Majesty Queen Noor; former Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok, Former Norwegian Foreign Minister Knut Vollebaek, and UK Minister of State for Care and Support Alistair Burt, as well as ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger.  The meeting took place at the Seat of the Court in The Hague.

“We have a shared commitment to give a voice to the victims of mass atrocities through our respective work and this MoU marks an important step forward in the long-standing partnership between the ICC and ICMP,” said…

ICMP Ready to Help Iraqi Authorities Identify Victims of Baghdad Bombing

The death of 250 people in Sunday’s bomb attack in Baghdad brings yet more grief to a population already traumatized by atrocity and inhumanity, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said today. She expressed solidarity with the survivors of this attack and their families.

Taking appropriate steps to identify the dead and the missing is a legal responsibility of governments around the world, including the Government of Iraq, Bomberger said. Since ICMP began working in Iraq in 2003, it has trained more than 550 Iraqi professionals in locating, securing, excavating and documenting mass graves and in DNA extraction. It has also worked with families of the missing to help them assert their right to the truth, to justice and to reparation.

“The key task today is to ensure that the chain of responsibility is operating in what are clearly very challenging circumstances,” Bomberger said. “This awful…

Maritime Tragedy Highlights Need For International Response to Migration Crisis

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The successful operation carried out this week by Italian naval engineers to raise the wreckage of a vessel that sank in April last year off the coast of Libya with the loss of hundreds of lives, highlights the urgent need for a coherent international response to the issue of missing persons from the refugee crisis, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said today.

“The Italian authorities have responded to the crisis in a commendable and forthright way, allocating resources to maritime safety and launching initiatives to account for missing migrants, but the scale of the loss of life in the case of this vessel highlights in the most tragic and brutal way the fact that more must be done by the International Community as a whole,” Bomberger said.

The ship is estimated to have been carrying anywhere from 700 to 1,000 refugees, and hundreds may have…

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…