Ms. Christiana Markert, German Embassy chargée d’affaires, and Mr. Christian Reismuller, First Secretary and Consul of the German Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, visited the facilities of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the Podrinje Identification Project (PIP) in Tuzla today.
Accompanied by Mr. Adam Boys, ICMP’s Chief Operating Officer, Ms. Markert and Mr. Reismuller visited ICMP’s Identification Coordination Division (ICD) where family reference samples collected by ICMP from relatives of the missing and bone samples of victims received from government authorities are processed. After being bar-coded the samples are sent to ICMP laboratories in Sarajevo and Banja Luka for DNA analysis. Once extracted, the DNA profiles from blood and bone are entered into ICMP’s database and compared for possible matches. The delegation also visited the Podrinje Identification Project (PIP), which was specifically created by ICMP to assist in the identification of persons reported missing from the 1995 fall of Srebrenica and which was transferred to national control in 2010.
“The process led by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is complex and impressive and I am glad to have had the opportunity to see it firsthand. I commend ICMP’s efforts in assisting countries of the former Yugoslavia to address the issue of missing persons. In addition, ICMP’s role in the scientific identification of thousands of missing persons is a remarkable achievement and the lessons learned here clearly have worldwide application. The Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina also deserves considerable praise for its commitment to an impartial process through its support to the Missing Persons Institute (MPI)”, said Ms. Christiana Markert, German Embassy chargée d’affaires.
“We are very grateful to the German Government for its continuing support to ICMP. We would not have achieved the results we have without the generous support of donor countries. This visit is a great honor for ICMP and send an important message to families of the missing that their plight is still a concern of the international community”, said Mr. Adam Boys, ICMP’s Chief Operating Officer, following the visit.
Germany has supported ICMP’s operations in the Western Balkans, Iraq and Columbia since year 2001 with contributions totaling over 3.5 Million USD as well as contributions made via grants made to ICMP by the European Union. This support has enabled ICMP to maintain the world’s most advanced high throughput DNA laboratory system dedicated to identifying persons missing from armed conflict, violations of human rights and natural disasters.
As part of its mandate, ICMP seeks to secure the co-operation of governments and other authorities in locating and identifying persons missing as a result of armed conflicts, other hostilities or violations of human rights and to assist them in doing so.
ICMP is the co-founder, with the BiH Council of Ministers, of the Missing Persons Institute of BiH, contributes to rule of law activities and supports the development of networks of civil society organizations which advocate for truth, justice, and the rights of family members of missing persons.
Of the 40,000 people estimated missing from the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, ICMP has helped identify 16,296 since 2001 using DNA-assisted techniques, in Bosnia alone 13,627. Of this number of identifications 6,616 are those reported missing following the 1995 fall of Srebrenica.