Germany remains a strong supporter of ICMP

Article posted on September 8, 2010
Signing of a donation agreement between ICMP and the Government of Germany in ICMP HQ in Sarajevo.

The German Government has announced that it will provide funds for the work of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) for the year 2010. The donation amounting to 300,000 Euros will support ICMP’s DNA-based identification program in the Western Balkans, which has already helped in accurately identifying 15,682 persons missing from the armed conflicts of the 1990’s.

On this occasion, the German Embassy chargée d’affaires ad interim Christiana Markert and ICMP Director General Ms. Kathryne Bomberger signed a donation agreement in ICMP’s international headquarters in Sarajevo.

“Germany is a strong supporter of ICMP’s work, not only in the Western Balkans, but in Iraq and Colombia. Large numbers of persons missing from armed conflict and crimes against humanity pose an impediment to the implementation of the rule of law and are a threat to long-term peace and stability. I am impressed that through ICMP’s assistance to  Bosnia and Herzegovina, two-thirds of those missing from the conflicts of the 1990’s are accounted for,” said German Embassy chargée d’affaires ad interim Christiana Markert. “ICMP’s use of modern forensic technology has proved to be a magnificent tool in accurately accounting for the missing in politically challenging environments,” she added.

Including this donation, the German Government has supported ICMP since year 2001 with grants of around 3,7 million Euros for its activities in the Balkans, Colombia and Iraq. These grants have also enabled ICMP to maintain the world’s most advanced high throughput DNA laboratory system dedicated to identifying persons missing from armed conflict, violations of human rights and natural disasters.

“ICMP is very pleased that Germany who has constantly recognized the importance of our work has decided to keep providing their support to our activities in the Western Balkans. The years of support from the German Government for ICMP demonstrates the importance that Germany places on this critical human rights issue. Thanks to their funds we will help governments bring answers to many more families who are still waiting for the DNA-identification of their loved ones”, said ICMP Director General, Ms. Kathryne Bomberger.

ICMP seeks 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 scientifically identify 18,000 persons and its database houses 150,000 genetic samples. ICMP maintains the highest throughput capability for DNA-based identifications in the world and as such it has become a centre for global assistance, not only in cases of human rights violations, but also in disaster situations. It has also developed a unique software platform called the fDMS to manage the complex data, which it makes available to governments.

ICMP also contributes to institutional reform and provides assistance to judicial institutions. It works with civil society organizations, encourages public involvement in its activities, and contributes to the development of appropriate expressions of commemoration and tributes to the missing.