The USA Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, H.E. Patrick S. Moon visited the international headquarters of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Sarajevo today.
Accompanied by ICMP’s Director-General Ms. Kathryne Bomberger, H.E. Ambassador Moon received briefings on ICMP’s assistance to governments worldwide, and toured the organizations’ main laboratory where ICMP performs DNA extraction and genetic profiling of samples from mortal remains and of blood samples from surviving relatives.
“The United States of America is a strong supporter of ICMP’s work, not only in the Western Balkans, but in Iraq as well. It is through ICMP’s efforts, particularly in Bosnia and Herzegovina, that two-thirds of those missing from the conflicts of the 1990’s have been accounted for,” said the U.S. Ambassador to BiH Patrick S. Moon. “The success of ICMP’s work is unprecedented, and is a major contribution to peace and stability in the region,” he added.
The US Government has supported ICMP since year 1996 with grants of over 39 million USD for its activities in the Western Balkans. These grants have 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 honored that Ambassador Moon met with us to discuss progress on the issue of missing persons. His visit to ICMP’s headquarters, as well as the years of support from the US Government for ICMP’s work, demonstrates the importance that United States of America places on this critical human rights issue”, said ICMP Director General Ms. Kathryne Bomberger and repeated that “Without the US Government, there would be no ICMP today.”
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. Along with the BiH Council of Ministers, ICMP is the co-founder of the Missing Persons Institute for BiH.