Representatives of family associations and government ministries, along with legal experts and civil society activists came together in Baghdad and Erbil this week to explore ways of facilitating an effective, fair and modern missing persons process.
The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) organized the roundtable meetings (29 and 30 April in Baghdad, and 3 and 4 May in Erbil) as part of an extended consultation on a sustainable missing persons process that can realistically be developed amid severe political and security challenges in Iraq.
At the opening roundtable session in the Parliament Building in Baghdad on 29 April, Speaker of the Parliament Salim Al-Jabouri called on participants to draft a “road map” on accounting for missing persons through legal and judicial means.
Dr. Al-Jabouri expressed his appreciation for the role ICMP has played in helping the Iraqi authorities address the issue of missing person. He called for the Law on Mass…
H.E. Apostolic Nuncio in Bosnia and Herzegovina Msgr. Luigi Pezzuto and ICMP Director- General Kathryne Bomberger met today in ICMP’s Headquarters in Sarajevo. H.E. Pezzuto was briefed by Ms. Bomberger on ICMP’s programs in the Western Balkans and the rest of the world. A significant segment of the meeting was also dedicated to a discussion about the Mediterranean Migration Crisis and how to deal with missing persons cases from these horrific events.
Msgr. Pezzuto was impressed by today’s visit to ICMP, not only by the amount and the scope of work this organization is doing but by the scientific methods and approaches being used as well. “ICMP’s engagement is human above anything, but important and useful as well. In the world that we live in, the world full of chaos and problems, it is of crucial significance to have an organization such as this one,“ said Apostolic Nuncio in BiH…
Members of the Forum on the Memorialization of Missing Persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina today presented a petition to the BiH Council of Ministers, the BiH Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees, and the BiH Parliament.
The petition calls on the authorities to proclaim 30 August as the “Official Day of Remembrance of All the Missing.” It also calls for full implementation of the Law on Missing Persons – which stipulates, among other things, that the authorities have an obligation to support memorialization of the missing. And it calls on the authorities, from this 30 August, to begin presenting an annual report on implementation of the Law.
“The initiative to make 30 August the “Official Day of Remembrance of All the Missing has the support of a broad cross-section of family associations from every part of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Forum representative Ema Cekic. “It is inclusive, appropriate and long overdue….
The authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina must maintain a systematic, professional, and impartial effort to account for the missing, even though nearly 20 years have passed since the end of the conflict, Chairman of the BiH Council of Ministers Denis Zvizdic said today.
Mr Zvizdic was speaking during a meeting in Sarajevo with Kathryne Bomberger, Director-General of the International Commission Persons (ICMP). At the meeting Ms Bomberger briefed the Chairman of the Council of Ministers on ICMP’s Stocktaking Report, which describes in detail the efforts that have been undertaken over more than two decades to account for the missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
He stressed that the key institutions responsible for addressing the missing persons issue, the Missing Persons Institute and the BiH Prosecutor’s Office, must be given the political, administrative and financial support that they need in order to do their job, and all available methods should be deployed to locate…
Participants at a Roundtable organized by ICMP in Banja Luka today stressed the need to continue the joint effort to account for the missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bosnia and Herzegovina leads the world in the ratio of missing persons it has been able to account for following the conflict of the 1990s: more than 70 percent – around 23,000 of roughly 31,500 reported missing.
This has been possible because the work of accounting for the missing has been undertaken in a coordinated, systematic and science-based manner.
Since ICMP first pioneered the use of DNA in 2001, almost 15,000 DNA identifications have been made in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The sophisticated database technology developed by ICMP to match blood samples given by family members with DNA extracted from human remains is now used all over the world. In addition to a dedicated software program, this technology has required a major outreach effort to…
In early April the United Kingdom followed Sweden in ratifying the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the ICMP, which opened the way for the Agreement to come into force in mid May. The Framework Agreement was signed in Brussels on 15 December by the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Luxembourg and Sweden. The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg will ratify the treaty during 2015.
The Agreement constitutes ICMP as a treaty-based international organization with its own system of governance and international capacities. It provides for a new organizational structure, including a Board of Commissioners as its principal organ and a Conference of State Parties.
“ICMP has now taken a major step forward in meeting the global challenge of addressing the issue of missing persons from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, migration and other causes,” said ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger.
The Framework Agreement stipulates that ICMP will establish its Headquarters…
Srebrenica Mayor Camil Durakovic and ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger met today at ICMP’s headquarters in Sarajevo. Mayor Durakovic briefed Director-General Bomberger on arrangements for the ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica Massacre on 11 July.
Director-General Bomberger noted that, since its inception in 1996, ICMP has been actively involved in the identification of the missing from Srebrenica; it played a key role in setting up the Potocari Memorial Center and it has worked continuously with families to help them find their loved ones and to ensure that they are able to assert their rights under the law.
Mayor Durakovic stressed the importance of the anniversary as a means of telling the truth of what took place at Srebrenica. He added that efforts must continue in order to ensure that the roughly 1,000 victims who are still missing from Srebrenica are accounted for.
Participants at a Roundtable organized by ICMP in Sarajevo today highlighted the underlying fact that accounting for the missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the responsibility of the authorities.
The BiH Law on Missing Persons, and the Declaration signed by Western Balkans leaders in Mostar last summer assert the fundamental obligation of the state to address the issue of missing persons, and to ensure that the rights of family members are upheld and that survivors and civil society have access to information and a proper investigation.
Officials at every level of government are obliged to cooperate – fully and effectively – in accounting for the missing, whatever their ethnicity, whatever the circumstances of their disappearance.
A key way of doing this is to consolidate, review and verify records of the missing. The BiH authorities created the Central Evidentiary List of the Missing (CEN) in 2011. However, only around half of the more…
The authorities must implement the BiH Law on Missing Persons fully and as a matter of urgency, participants at a roundtable in Mostar agreed today.
The roundtable, organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), brought together representatives of family associations and the authorities as well as academic and legal experts to discuss ways of increasing the effectiveness of efforts to account for the missing.
The BiH Law on Missing Persons was enacted at the end of 2004, providing for the establishment of the Missing Persons Institute (MPI) to coordinate the search for the missing, the establishment of the Central Records of Missing Persons, and the establishment of a Fund to ensure that families of the missing receive necessary financial support. The Law also prescribes procedures for memorials.
The MPI was launched in 2005 and became fully operational in 2008. The Central Records were created in 2011, but only half of…
A recent survey found that an overwhelming majority of people in Bosnia and Herzegovina (more than 80 percent) believe that accounting for the missing contributes to post-war recovery and, in the long term, reconciliation, Alma Dzaferovic, the Head of the War Crimes Department in Tuzla Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office and a member of the BiH High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council, wrote in a column that appeared in the RadioSarajevo.ba news portal this week.
“A key element in the effort to account for the missing is to recognize that prosecuting criminals and searching for their victims is not something that affects just families of the missing: it affects everyone. If criminals walk free, citizens cannot rely on the protection of the law,” she wrote. “Also – in practical terms – if criminals walk free they will not be obliged to give up whatever information they may possess regarding the fate of those…