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…

Profiles of the Missing

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ICMP is organizing a major international panel discussion on missing persons from 14.00 to 16.00 on Friday 8 July 2016 at the Theater aan het Spui, Foyer Spui 187, 2511 BN, The Hague, the Netherlands. The conference can be followed via livestream at 

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…

Two Decades of Accounting for the Missing

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Twenty years ago today, at the G-7 summit in Lyon, US President Bill Clinton proposed the establishment of the International Commission on Missing Persons, ICMP. Writing in Vecernji list, Oslobodjenje and Glas Srpske on the occasion of ICMP’s 20th anniversary, Director-General Kathryne Bomberger noted that few would have believed in 1996 how much could be achieved.

“The prospects for a sustained and effective effort to account for the tens of thousands of missing people in former Yugoslavia seemed poor. Two decades on, an integrated system – combining the establishment of dedicated institutions and legislation to address the issue of the missing, a rule of law approach, engagement of the families of the missing, and modern scientific methods – has delivered extraordinary results.”

Noting that more than 70 percent of the 40,000 who were missing have been acounted for, Bomberger wrote that “in order to…

Profiles of the Missing

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As part of a series of events to mark its 20th anniversary, ICMP is organizing a major international panel discussion on the global challenge of missing persons.

This will take place

 From 14.00 to 16.00 on 8 July 2016

At the Theater aan het Spui, Foyer

Spui 187, 2511 BN, The Hague, the Netherlands

Family members who have missing  loved ones as a result of conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, forced migration and other causes, will describe their personal experience and explain the social and political strategies they have developed in order to seek truth, justice and reparation.

The Commissioners of the International Commission on Missing Persons, Thomas Miller, Knut Vollebaek, Her Majesty Queen Noor, Wim Kok, and Alistair Burt, along with ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger, will participate.

The 90-minute discussion will be moderated by the award-winning war correspondent Janine…

ICMP provides training for Kosovo forensic scientists

 

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By Lejla Softic

In May 2016, two experts from the Kosovo Agency on Forensics (KAF) and one expert from the Institute of Forensic Medicine (IFM) completed a two-week professional development training program at ICMP’s facilities in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The KAF is primarily a crime laboratory. It was established as an agency of the Kosovo Ministry of Internal Affairs in 2003 and has received extensive support from the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP). The IFM comes under the Ministry of Justice and is responsible for managing and maintaining forensic services based on internationally recognized standards and European best practice to provide medico-legal services, teaching and support services for families of missing persons.

The two scientists from the KAF observed the workflow at ICMP’s laboratories in Tuzla, Banja Luka and Sarajevo, and they were briefed on post-mortem sample preparation, washing and grinding and…