ICMP and Libya Agree to Expand Cooperation during Minister’s Visit

Bomberger and Gadur met in ICMP's headquarters

Bomberger and Gadur met in ICMP's headquarters

The Libyan Minister for the Affairs of Families of Martyrs and of Missing Persons (MAFMM) H.E. Mr. Ali Gadur and ICMP Director General Kathryne Bomberger agreed to expand cooperation in the process of locating and identifying missing persons in Libya. This agreement was reached during Mr. Gadur’s five day visit to ICMP. The delegation also included the Libyan Chief Prosecutor, Mr. Abdullah Aburziza and other representatives.

The Libyan Minister agreed that technical assistance and training from ICMP needs to be expanded to include representatives from other Libyan Ministries and institutions whose work is essential to the missing persons process, including the Attorney General’s Office, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Interior. ICMP will assist Libya in enhancing its data protection mechanisms and policies and will continue to provide extensive training courses for Libyan technical staff, not only from the MAFMM, but also to other relevant ministries in the year 2014, including training in forensic anthropology and archaeology, DNA lab work and other areas.

“I have arrived here to learn about the work of ICMP first hand, and hear the experiences of local Bosnian authorities in this regard. There has been a good cooperation between the MAFMM and the ICMP and we are looking forward to future cooperation. We in Libya are making huge efforts in resolving the cases of missing persons and it is certain that we wouldn’t be at this level of preparedness and ability today if it wasn’t for ICMP”, said H.E. Mr. Ali Gadur.

“I am extremely grateful to the Minister for his visit to ICMP. We have had productive discussions and decided on ways to build upon our successful cooperation. ICMP’s experts have already trained many Libyan ministry staff in the field of exhumations and have trained them to use ICMP’s software that ICMP had donated to the Libyan Government. It is important that we continue to build Libya’s rule of law capacity, not only to investigate missing persons cases, but to be able to close cases which have been scientifically identified. The only logical step to this was to extend our work to include other ministries and institutions that work on investigations and legally closing missing persons cases. We look forward to further helping the Libyan Government in this process so that families of the missing can find out the fate of their loved ones as soon as possible”, said ICMP Director General Kathryne Bomberger.

During his visit to ICMP, Mr. Gadur and other delegation members from the Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice toured ICMP’s Headquarters and identification facilities, including ICMP’s DNA laboratory in Sarajevo, as well as ICMP’s Identification Coordination Center and the Podrinje Identification Project in Tuzla. In addition to his visit to ICMP, Mr. Gadur paid a visit to the Srebrenica Memorial Cemetery, the Missing Persons Institute, the Special Department for War Crimes at the BiH Prosecution Office, and met with Mr. Husein ef. Kavazovic, Grand Mufti of BiH, as well as H.E. Fletcher M. Burton of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Mr. Gadur was introduced to details of ICMP’s data protection policies and the specific work of ICMP’s DNA identification system which is internationally accredited to ISO 17025 standards by the renowned accreditation agency DAkkS.

Also during the visit, Mr. Gadur received from ICMP 16 recently generated DNA match reports. ICMP has now provided 131 positive DNA reports related to missing persons from Libya, including cases from the Bin Jawad mass grave, the unidentified bodies found in a hospital refrigerator in a Tripoli that were kept there since 1984, and the high profile case of Dr. Mansour Rashid Kikhia, who disappeared in 1993 during the Qaddafi regime. Dr. Kikhia was Libyan Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1972 to 1973 and the Libyan Ambassador to the UN.

An agreement between ICMP and the Libyan Government was signed in November 2012 to cooperate in addressing missing persons cases from the recent conflicts as well as from the 42-year regime of Muammar Gaddafi. Funding for ICMP’s program in Libya has been donated by the Government of the United States, the Government of Denmark and the Government of the UK. The Government of Libya is also providing important support.

The ICMP was created at a G-7 summit in 1996 and it is the only specialized international organization that addresses the issue of missing persons in all of its facets.