Report Cites Achievements, Shortcomings of Missing Persons Search in Western Balkans

Aleksandra Letic, the author of the Report, together with the representatives of Regional Coordination of Family Associations of Missing from Former Yugoslavia and ICMP
Aleksandra Letic, the author of the Report, together with the representatives of Regional Coordination of Family Associations of Missing from Former Yugoslavia and ICMP

The fact that more than 70 percent of those who went missing during the conflicts in former Yugoslavia have been accounted for shows willingness and determination on the part of countries in the Western Balkans to resolve the missing persons issue, a report issued today concludes.

The Regional Assessment Report on the Process of Resolving the Missing Persons Issue is published by the Regional Coordination of Family Associations of Missing from Former Yugoslavia, which comprises family associations from countries in the region.

“The Report provides a comprehensive and objective overview of results in the search for missing persons in Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Kosovo,” said Ljiljana Alvir, President of the Regional Coordination Steering Board. She said the report would serve as “a platform for advocacy and lobbying activities of both the Regional Coordination and family associations of the missing.”

Aleksandra Letic, the author of…

ICMP Will Intensify and Expand Its International Operations

Ms Bomberger was joined at ICMP headquarters in Sarajevo joined by Dutch Ambassador Jurriaan Kraak (also representing Luxembourg), UK Ambassador Edward Ferguson, Swedish Ambassador Fredrik Schiller and Mr. Jean-Pierre Biebuyck representing Belgium, at a press conference explaining the significance of the treaty, which was signed in Brussels on Monday.
Ms Bomberger was joined at ICMP headquarters in Sarajevo joined by Dutch Ambassador Jurriaan Kraak (also representing Luxembourg), UK Ambassador Edward Ferguson, Swedish Ambassador Fredrik Schiller and Mr. Jean-Pierre Biebuyck representing Belgium, at a press conference explaining the significance of the treaty, which was signed in Brussels on Monday.

The International Commission on Missing Persons, which has been working globally since 2003, will be able to intensify and expand its international operations following the signing of an ICMP treaty by the foreign ministers of the Netherlands, the UK, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg, ICMP Director General Kathryne Bomberger said today.

Ms Bomberger was joined at ICMP headquarters in Sarajevo by Dutch Ambassador Jurriaan Kraak (also representing Luxembourg), UK Ambassador Edward Ferguson, Swedish Ambassador Fredrik Schiller and Mr. Jean-Pierre Biebuyck representing Belgium, at a press conference to explain the significance of the treaty, which was signed in Brussels on Monday.

“This agreement reflects a new international awareness of the scale and seriousness of the global missing persons problem,” she said. “And it recognizes the success of ICMP’s approach to this problem – which combines an emphasis on building rule-of-law institutions, fostering civil society engagement and applying modern forensic methods and standards, and utilizing…

ICMP FRAMEWORK AGREEMENT: AN OVERVIEW

Ministers ondertekenen International Commission on Missing Perso

Introduction

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) was established in 1996 at a G7 Summit in Lyon, France, to secure the co-operation of governments and other authorities in locating and identifying persons missing as a result of the armed conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. The approach of working together with governments and other authorities, including courts and prosecutors, as well as ensuring the engagement of civil society, has proven to be highly effective. Today, over 70% of those reported missing have been accounted for from the conflicts in the Western Balkans.

ICMP’s mandate and activities were expanded in 2003 to enable the organization to work globally and to respond to cases of manmade and natural disasters. Subsequently, since 2004, ICMP has assisted countries around the world in addressing missing persons cases from conflict, human rights abuses, manmade and natural disasters, organized crime, human trafficking, migration and other causes.

Countries outside the…

Meeting the Challenge of Missing Persons: ICMP Becomes Treaty-Based International Organization

From Mexico to Syria, an epidemic of missing persons cases. Governments take initiative to tackle global problem with signing of ICMP treaty.
From Mexico to Syria, an epidemic of missing persons cases. Governments take initiative to tackle global problem with signing of ICMP treaty.

The case of the 43 abducted Mexican students has drawn the world’s attention to the issue of enforced disappearances. Yet the Mexican case is no more than a microcosm of a global problem – an epidemic of missing persons has arisen from the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, from the effects of migration in Asia and the Americas, and from the continuing political and social upheavals across Africa, to cite just a few instances.

This is a global problem and it demands a global response.

Part of this global response was put in place on 15 December in the form of an international agreement signed in Brussels by the foreign ministers of the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Luxembourg and Sweden. The Agreement establishes the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) as a treaty-based international organization in its own right with its own structure of governance and international capacities.

ICMP is designated…

ICMP Established as International Organization in its Own Right

Ministers ondertekenen International Commission on Missing Perso

The Foreign Ministers of the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Belgium, and Luxembourg signed a Framework Agreement on 15 December that grants a new legal status to the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

“This Agreement reflects a new international consensus on the issue of missing persons,” ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said immediately after the signing ceremony. “For decades the problem of missing persons has been treated as a humanitarian issue, or as a disaster-relief issue, or as a war-emergency issue – but it is now recognized as a systemic global challenge that demands a coherent and effective global response.”

Ms. Bomberger said the Agreement gives ICMP the tools it needs in order to remain at the forefront of this global response. “ICMP has been operating around the world for more than a decade: this Treaty means we can spearhead new initiatives in a way that is consistent with and supportive…

Memorializing the Missing of Bosnia and Herzegovina on International Human Rights Day

Members of the Forum on Joint Memorialization of Missing Persons hold silhouettes of missing persons 
Photo: Velija Hasanbegovic, Radio Sarajevo
Members of the Forum on Joint Memorialization of Missing Persons hold silhouettes of missing persons Photo: Velija Hasanbegovic, Radio Sarajevo

Resolving missing persons cases in Bosnia and Herzegovina – even after two decades – is a central and indispensable element in establishing a just and sustainable society, participants at an International Human Rights Day demonstration on behalf of the Missing said.

The Forum on Joint Memorialization of Missing Persons, which brings together representatives of Family Associations and other activists from across Bosnia and Herzegovina, organized a “silhouette of missing persons” event in Sarajevo on 10 December.

“It’s important that families of the missing mark International Human Rights Day, because we have experienced the disappearance of loved ones and we have become their voice. We have to fight for their right to a dignified burial, for their identity,” said Adis Hukanovic, a representative of the Forum. “By making this peaceful walk on International Human Rights Day we want to express our dissatisfaction with the general situation when it comes to finding and…

Syrian Commission for Transitional Justice Visits ICMP

Members of Syrian Transitional Justice Commisssion at ICMP
Members of Syrian Transitional Justice Commisssion at ICMP

Members of the Syrian Commission for Transitional Justice (SCTJ) this week visited ICMP’s headquarters in Sarajevo, the Podrinje Identification Project and ICMP Identification Coordination Division in Tuzla, and the Potocari Memorial Center in Srebrenica.

During the 2-5 December visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, SCTJ members were briefed by ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger and other ICMP staff members, on the institutional, legal, technical and civil society aspects of the missing persons issue in different parts of the world. They also met with a range of BiH civil society groups active in the search for missing persons.

It is estimated that almost 50,000 persons are missing in Syria, including 30,000 as a result of the current conflict. Since fighting began in 2011 there have been reports of mass graves near major cities such as Deraa, Damascus, Aleppo, and in the Christian town of Sadad. During discussions in Sarajevo members of the SCTJ…

ICMP Report Presents All Aspects of Missing Persons Issue in BiH

2014 12 04 Stocktaking Report 1

A successful combination of civil society engagement, institutional development and scientific innovation has made it possible to account for more than 70 percent of the missing from the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said at the December launch of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Missing Persons from the Armed Conflict of the 1990s: A Stocktaking.

“As many as 23,000 missing persons out of an estimated 30,000 reported missing as a consequence of the war have been accounted for,” she said. “No other country in the world has resolved such a large number of missing persons cases.”

The book-length ICMP report brings together in a single, detailed and systematic narrative all of the available information on missing persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina, providing documentary information on the search for the missing in every part of the country.

“Bosnia and Herzegovina must remain vigilant in accounting for the remaining 8,000 persons missing…

ICMP and Cyprus CMP Conclude Productive Partnership

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At the end of November the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) provided a final report to the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP), detailing the outcome of their two-year partnership to establish an effective DNA identification system to resolve the fate of persons who went missing during the conflicts in the years 1963-1964 and 1974 in Cyprus.

The collaboration between ICMP and the Cyprus CMP was established to provide for DNA testing from unidentified skeletal remains, and to perform advanced DNA matching between the resulting new DNA profiles and the DNA profiles of family members of the missing. The family reference DNA database to be used for comparison was provided in anonymous form from samples that had previously been collected and tested in Cyprus. The computerized DNA family matching procedure was done at ICMP in a blind manner, fostering both objectivity and the principle of personal data protection.

ICMP has…

ICMP Receives Turkish Grant

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The International Commission on Missing Persons has received a further grant of US$200,000 from the Government of the Republic of Turkey, as in previous years. This funding will support ICMP’s activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and elsewhere.

“This donation is of great importance to ICMP – apart from its financial value it demonstrates Turkey’s commitment to supporting ICMP’s efforts to help Bosnia and Herzegovina address the issue of persons missing from armed conflict and crimes against humanity, regardless of their national or religious origin,” said ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger. She described the Turkish funding as “an important contribution to future peace and stability.”

Turkish Ambassador Cihad Erginay said “The Government of the Republic of Turkey attaches significant importance to the issue of missing persons as a global matter. As the only specific organization regarding missing persons cases, we have been supporting ICMP from the very beginning. The Balkan region is one…