Posts Categorized: Press Releases

Effective Tools to Account for the Missing

HM Queen Noor 1

Effective tools have been developed to address the global missing persons crisis created by natural disasters, conflict and migration, Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan said on Monday during a presentation at the Blavatnik School of Government in Oxford.

“The issue of the missing is no longer being tackled solely as a humanitarian issue and by humanitarian actors, but as a public law issue to be addressed by public institutions including domestic courts, prosecutors and law enforcement,” Queen Noor said.

Describing the evolution of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), which emerged from the post-war recovery process in the Western Balkans 20 years ago, she said ICMP could serve as a model for creating “a light but efficient modern international organization”.

ICMP cooperates with governments and other authorities in locating and identifying persons missing as a result of conflicts, human rights…

Kosovo Forensic Agency Representatives Visit ICMP

Photo 1_KFA Representatives

Three senior representatives of the Kosovo Forensic Agency, Chief Executive Officer Blerim Olluri, Director of Serology and DNA Operations Sokol Dedaj, and Head of the DNA Laboratory Fatmir Ademi, visited ICMP’s facilities in Sarajevo today, where they were briefed by Head of the Western Balkans Program Matthew Holliday, and senior ICMP forensic sciences staff.

Today’s visit is part of a four-day fact-finding trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina which has included visits to ICMP’s Identification Coordination Division and the Podrinje Identification Project, both in Tuzla, and ICMP’s laboratory in Banja Luka. In October, ICMP technical staff visited the KFA in Prishtina to assess ways in which ICMP can provide technical assistance to the KFA.

The KFA is primarily a crime laboratory. It was established in 2003 and has received extensive support from the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program.

Blerim Olluri noted that while…

El Salvador Signs ICMP Treaty

 Photo Caption: ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger, El Salvador Ambassador to the Netherlands Aida Luz Santos de Escobar, and Head of the Treaties Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands  J. Damoiseaux at the Signing of the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP)


El Salvador today became the sixth 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. It 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.

Today’s signing ceremony will facilitate ICMP’s capacity to work with the authorities in El Salvador, where,…

Much Work Still to Be Done To Account for the Missing in the Western Balkans

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) will endeavor to work in the Western Balkans as long as families of the missing and relevant institutions continue to request its assistance, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said in an interview published today in BH Dani. She pointed out that while more than 70 percent of the 40,000 people who went missing during the conflict have been accounted for, the fate of around 12,000 persons is still unknown, “which means that there is a lot of work still to be done.”

In December last year five governments signed an Agreement on ICMP, granting it a new status as an intergovernmental organization with a global mandate. The agreement stipulated that the organization would move its headquarters to The Hague, and this has now been done. However, a number of functions will remain in Bosnia and Herzegovina for several years. In addition, as long as…

Microsoft Supports ICMP

Microsoft logo

Microsoft Corporation has donated US$474,791 in software to the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). This will allow ICMP to maintain and enhance its Identification Database Management System (IDMS) software and add efficiency to its global communications.

This is the fifth major donation by Microsoft to ICMP. It donated software in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015 under its global “Unlimited Potential” initiative, which provides software support to non-profit organizations.

“ICMP operates a state-of-the-art iDMS and runs programs in many different parts of the world,” said ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger. “Microsoft’s assistance has been and continues to be of paramount importance to us as we develop our human identification database and expand our communications network to manage projects separated by large distances.”

The iDMS is a specialized software solution developed by ICMP for managing large scale missing persons programs. It has a set of…

ICMP Hague Meeting: Enhances Global Missing Persons Strategy


The first Conference of State Parties of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) was held today at the Foreign Ministry of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in The Hague. The meeting, was chaired by a representative of the United Kingdom.

The CSP brings together countries that have signed the Agreement on the Status and Functions of ICMP: the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg signed the agreement in December 2014 and other countries, including El Salvador, are expected to sign in the near future. Representatives of El Salvador, Germany, the US, Interpol and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) attended today’s Conference as observers.

The CSP discussed ICMP’s plan of work through 2018.  Among key activities for the period, ICMP will host the inaugural meeting in November of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee on Missing Persons, whose initial focus will be on the…

Colombia: Effective Missing Persons Process

Colombia 4

Sunday’s provincial and municipal polls in Colombia were hailed as possibly the country’s “last war-time elections”, since the Government and the FARC guerrilla movement achieved a breakthrough in peace negotiations in Havana last month, committing themselves to conclude a final peace agreement by March 2016.

On 17 October the two sides agreed to create a special unit to search for the missing when the final peace agreement is signed.

ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said today that concrete progress towards peace has opened the door to tackling one of the major issues created by half a century of conflict.

“Colombia is facing an enormous challenge in addressing the issue of missing persons. The numbers are vast and the political and legal hurdles will be numerous.  However, successfully locating and identifying the missing is a necessary step to upholding the law, including ensuring that families are…

Nepal Needs Holistic Approach to Missing Persons Issue

_DSC5689 (1024x680)

Members of the Common Platform, a coalition of family members and groups representing victims of the 1996-2006 conflict in Nepal, have highlighted the challenge of accounting for the 1,300 people still missing from the decade-long conflict in Nepal.

Thirteen members of the Common Platform visited ICMP’s offices in Sarajevo this week, where they toured the DNA laboratory, and were briefed on ICMP’s operations around the globe before meeting members of the Regional Coordination, an organization that groups together associations of families of the missing from former Yugoslavia.

The visitors highlighted the challenges facing those who are seeking to account for the missing in Nepal, which include rugged terrain and the relative inaccessibility of many parts of the country.

Thousands of people were victims of enforced disappearance during the conflict between Maoist insurgents and the Royalist government. The conflict ended with a peace agreement that…

Roadmap on Long-Term Missing Persons Program in Albania

Albanian delegation 2 (800x619)

A delegation from the Albanian Government completed a three-day study trip to ICMP’s offices in Bosnia and Herzegovina today. In April, ICMP staff held talks with officials in Tirana following a government invitation to visit the country. ICMP and the relevant institutions in Albania are now developing a roadmap to address the issue of around 6,000 people believed to have gone missing as a result of political persecution between 1944 and 1991.

The Albanian delegation, comprising Ermira Shtino of the Directorate for Policy for the formerly-Persecuted, Laura Saro of the Office of the Chief Prosecutor, Orkid Spahiu of the Institute for the Integration of Politically Persecuted Persons, and Refik Golli of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, visited ICMP’s laboratories in Sarajevo and Tuzla as well as the Podrinje Identification Project in Tuzla; they were briefed on all aspects of ICMP programs…

ICMP Welcomes “Important Opportunity” to Account for Missing Persons in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger has welcomed this week’s announcement by the Sri Lankan government that it will establish “independent, credible and empowered mechanisms for truth seeking, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence” in regard to war crimes, including enforced disappearances, perpetrated during the conflict that ended in 2009.

Among other things, the government proposes to establish a Commission for Truth, an Office on Missing Persons, and an Office for Reparations.

On Wednesday UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein called for “a hybrid special court, integrating international judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators” to examine crimes committed during the conflict in Sri Lanka.

“There is now an important opportunity for all stakeholders in Sri Lanka, together with constructive assistance from international partners, to address the issue of those who went  missing during the conflict,” Ms. Bomberger said. “The fact is that truth…