Effort to Account for the Missing Must Continue

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BiH Minister for Human Rights and Refugees Semiha Borovac said today that the new authorities are committed to sustaining the effort to account for the missing and implementing the recommendations in the International Commission for Missing Persons (ICMP) BiH Stocktaking Report.

Ms Borovac was speaking at the conclusion of an ICMP presentation at the BiH Parliament. She said that while Bosnia and Herzegovina is leading the world in accounting for missing persons from conflict, with over 70 percent of the 30,000 persons now accounted for, it must create a roadmap for finding the remaining 8,000 persons.

The presentation highlighted the need for more technical experts, for better coordination between the Prosecutor’s Office and the Missing Persons Institute (MPI) and for appropriate funding for the MPI.

ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said families of the missing are frustrated by the failure of successive administrations to implement the Law on Missing Persons fully. “The Law…

Analysis of Unidentified Remains Begins in Travnik

17. A refrigerated mortuary room

Following a meeting of the working group on the review of unidentified remains in BiH mortuaries, in Visoko on 22 May in the presence of the Prosecutor’s Offices, MPI Directors and Investigators, Legal Medicine Specialist, and Police investigators, it was agreed that anthropological analysis of unidentified remains – the Travnik cases – under the jurisdiction of the Central Bosnia Canton Prosecutor’s Office will begin in the course of this week.

Relevant authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina at every level are conducting a thorough review of all 11 mortuaries in the country to establish why almost 3,000 bone samples received from local authorities do not match the genetic profiles of nearly 9,000 complete sets of reference samples provided by more than 27,000 family members with missing relatives.  It is not yet clear why such a large number of bone samples do not match the available genetic profiles.

The review process undertaken by…

Libya Must Account for the Missing, Uphold the Rights of Families

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Libyan lawyers and other stakeholders, meeting at a seminar in Istanbul, today called on the parties preparing a national dialogue in Libya to make a formal commitment not only to work towards disclosing the fate of missing persons but to conduct investigations and also to safeguard the rights of families.

Legal experts, civil society activists and government representatives from Libya participated in a seminar on Monday and Tuesday on “criminal Procedure and the use of evidence in court-led processes on mass graves and missing persons in Libya”. The seminar, organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons, was designed to help Libyan stakeholders develop a legal framework through which the issue of missing persons in Libya can be addressed effectively when the operating environment stabilizes.

Under ICMP auspices, experts from the Netherlands Forensic Institute, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Court, the Libyan National Dialogue Preparatory…

Memories that Divide: Memories that Heal

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The following is an abridged version of a detailed report prepared by Viktorija Ruzicic-Tokic, a former Program Officer at ICMP, analyzing the memorialization challenges in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

For many years, ICMP has actively facilitated discussions among different civil society organizations (CSOs) on remembrance and universal memorialization of missing persons in the Western Balkans. The object has been to bring together associations of families of missing persons, CSOs and human rights activists with a view to creating a better understanding of the concept of memorialization and its significance to transitional justice in the region, and also to develop joint approaches to memorializing more than 41,000 missing persons in the Western Balkans.

Since 2010, ICMP has initiated a series of consultations and dialogue sessions throughout the region. These sessions have shown that the best way to foster agreement on a universal approach to memorializing missing persons is to…

Forum in Germany Examines Latest Trends in Forensic Science

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ICMP was invited by the technology company QIAGEN and the Association for the Advancement of Clinical and Experimental Molecular Endocrinology to give a presentation at the 4th Investigator Forum in Mettmann, Germany, from 14th to 16th April.

This forum gathered around 100 scientists from 22 different countries including well-known researchers such as David Ballard (Kings College), Kees van der Beek (Netherlands Forensic Institute), John Butler (National Institute of Standards and Technologies), Manfred Kayser (Erasmus University), Peter de Knijff (Leiden University), Walther Parson (Innsbruck University), Chris Phillips (Santiago de Compostela University), and Peter Schneider (Cologne Institute of Legal Medicine).

Four workshops preceded the main session. Dr. Sylvain Amory, DNA Validation and Development Coordinator in ICMP’s Forensic Science/DNA Laboratories Division, attended the session focused on the application and value of non-STR markers in forensic analysis. The workshop, organized by Chris Phillips and Walther Parson, included talks on the use of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms…

ICMP in the Philippines

ICMP's FSD Training Coordinator Dr. Zoran Budimlija with FSS 2015 hosts
ICMP's FSD Training Coordinator Dr. Zoran Budimlija with FSS 2015 hosts

According to the World Risk Index. The country experiences more than 20 typhoons annually, yet it does not have a disaster victim identification protocol fully in place. As a result, a large number of human remains, including those from Typhoon Sendong (lligan and Cagayan in December 2011), Typhoon Pablo (Davao, December 2012) and Typhoon Haiyan (Tacloban, November 2013) are still waiting to be identified, pending financial and logistical support In addition, there is no legal framework for the use of DNA in criminal trials: more than 90% of convictions, including capital convictions, are based on witness testimony.

Recognizing the need to facilitate scientific applications in the Philippines justice system and Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) process, faculty and students of the University…

Gender and collective memory

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

Bojana Djokanovic examines evolving patterns of memorialization and looks at the role of women and civil society in commemorating the dead and missing from modern conflicts.

 

The Oxford online dictionary defines memorialization, in its verb form, as a means to “preserve the memory of; commemorate.” .

Memorialization is construed as a process of preserving…

Iraqi Road Map on Missing Persons Issues

2015 05 05 Iraqi Road Map on Missing Persons Issues

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…

Holy See representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina visits ICMP

2015 04 30 Apostolic Nuncio visits ICMP

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…

BiH Day of Remembrance for All the Missing

Forum representative Ema Cekic in front of National Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Forum representative Ema Cekic in front of National Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina

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….