Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Headquarters in Sarajevo Brigadier General David B. Enyeart visited the international headquarters of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Sarajevo today. Brig. Gen. Enyeart met with ICMP’s Director-General Ms. Kathryne Bomberger who briefed him on ICMP’s assistance to governments worldwide.
“I am deeply impressed with the efforts of ICMP to address the issue of missing persons from armed conflict and violations of human rights. This is the first post-conflict effort that I have seen in which such a large number of missing persons have been accounted for,” said Brig. Gen. Enyeart. “The fact that two-thirds of the missing are now accounted form from the armed conflict of the 1990’s is an unprecedented achievement, which I hope will not only contribute to reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but peace and stability in the region. ICMP’s work is a model for the world,” he added.
“We are pleased to have hosted Mr. Enyeart today in our headquarters today. The support of NATO is very important to the work of ICMP. NATO has played a critical role over the years in Bosnia and Herzegovina in helping to locate clandestine graves and providing security at sites. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their efforts and continued support,” said ICMP’s Director-General Ms. Kathryne Bomberger.
Mr. Enyeart also toured ICMP’s main laboratory in Sarajevo where ICMP performs DNA extraction and genetic profiling of samples from mortal remains and of blood samples from surviving relatives.
In addition to its technical support in the identification process, ICMP is the co-founder of the Missing Persons Institute of BiH. ICMP also contributes to transitional justice activities, provides legislative support and helps in the development of networks of civil society organizations which advocate for truth, justice, and for the rights of family members of missing persons.
ICMP’s mandate is 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 pioneered the use of DNA technology to identify large numbers of missing persons. Today ICMP has helped to scientifically identify 18,000 missing persons and its database houses 150,000 genetic samples relative to missing persons in over 20 countries.
ICMP recently launched its Online Inquiry Center that allows family members and government authorities to find information on the status of cases in ICMP’s database. If a family has registered a missing person with the ICMP by providing one or more reference samples for DNA testing, the status of the case can be tracked simply by entering the name of the missing person.