Yearly Archives: 2015

Republic of Serbia Signs ICMP Treaty

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17 December 2015: The Republic of Serbia has become the ninth country to sign the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons.

ICMP has been helping the authorities in Serbia to account for missing persons since 1996. In 2001 ICMP signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the former Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and after this ICMP assisted in the excavation and identification of persons missing from the Kosovo conflict. ICMP opened an office and established a DNA laboratory in Belgrade in 2002. The laboratory was handed over to the Serbian authorities in 2006. In 2014, ICMP renewed its agreement with the Government of Serbia Commission on Missing Persons through an exchange of letters relating specifically to the provision of assistance in locating, recovering and identifying missing persons related to the…

Chile Signs ICMP Treaty

Ambassador María Teresa Infante of the Republic of Chile, Ambassador Elpidoforos Economou of the Republic of Cyprus, and ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger at the signing of the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons, The Hague, 14 December 2005.

14 December 2015: Chile today became the seventh country to sign the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

In December 2014 the Agreement was signed by the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg; last month it was signed by El Salvador, and this morning in addition to Chile it was signed by the Republic of Cyprus. The Agreement recognizes ICMP as an international organization tasked with assisting countries in their efforts to address missing persons cases from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, migration and other causes. The…

More remains can be found; More identifications can be made

14 December 2015: The review of BiH mortuaries being carried out under the jurisdiction of the relevant Prosecutors’ Offices with the full cooperation of the police, pathologists and the authorities, the Missing Persons Institute and ICMP demonstrates the determined efforts to investigate missing persons cases , 20 years after the conflict, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger wrote in a column that appeared on Sunday (13 December) in the daily newspaper Dnevni Avaz.

“It also highlights the very important fact that more than two decades after the war, with more than 70 percent of the missing accounted for, the effort to account for those who are still missing remains absolutely essential,” Ms Bomberger added.

For the last two years, the NN (no name) Working Group has been systematically reviewing cases of unidentified remains in BiH mortuaries, moving from one mortuary to the next. It has so far reviewed cases in Sutina, Nevesinje, Gorazde,…

The Republic of Cyprus Signs ICMP Treaty

Ambassador María Teresa Infante of the Republic of Chile, Ambassador Elpidoforos Economou of the Republic of Cyprus, and ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger at the signing of the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons, The Hague, 14 December 2005.

14 December 2015: The Republic of Cyprus today became the eighth country to sign the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

In December 2014 the Agreement was signed by the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg; last month it was signed by El Salvador, and this morning it was signed by Chile and then Cyprus.

The Agreement recognizes ICMP as an international organization tasked with assisting countries in their efforts to address missing persons cases from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, migration and other causes. It does not…

Yazidi Women in Mass Graves

In mid-November 2015, two mass graves were discovered in the northwest of Iraq. They were believed to hold the remains of Yazidis executed by Islamic State. One grave contained 70 elderly women while 60 younger women and children were found in the other. The larger grave is one of the largest ever found in the area.

The Yazidis or Yezidis are a Kurdish-speaking people who live principally in northern Iraq. They number from 500,000 to 600,000, with another 200,000 settled in other parts of the world. Their 4,000-year-old faith draws upon Zoroastrianism, Islam and other religions: this unique heritage, however, has long made the Yazidis victims of persecution in the region, where they are…

DNA and the Issue of Trafficked Children

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By Bojana Djokanovic

ICMP was invited to participate and share expertise at a film screening and discussion organized in Washington on 8 December by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The event focused on the use of DNA in identifying migration-related enforced disappearances. The film shown was a documentary on the trafficking of migrant children from South America, “The Living Disappeared” directed by Alexa Barrett.  ICMP Forensic Sciences Director Thomas Parsons was a member of the discussion panel after the film screening.

“The Living Disappeared” gives a first-hand account of trafficking, from people who migrated as children, who were victims of kidnappers or smugglers, and who made the journey across the desert. It depicts the human side of the complex problem of identifying the dead and preventing human trafficking.

The film also describes the push factors within countries of origin that cause…

Creating Space for Hope

 

 ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger, El Salvador Ambassador to the Netherlands Aida Luz Santos de Escobar, and Head of the Treaties Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands  J. Damoiseaux at the Signing of the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP)

By Kathryne Bomberger

On 18 November El Salvador became the sixth country to sign the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons. ICMP is the only international organization exclusively dedicated to helping governments and others account for those who go missing as a result of conflict, crime, migration, human rights violations and natural disasters.

The ICMP Agreement gives signatories a role in ICMP’s development and strategy. In December 2014, it was signed by the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg.

El Salvador’s accession will…

Microsoft Supports ICMP

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Microsoft and ICMP announced in November that Microsoft has donated US$474,791 in software to ICMP. This will allow ICMP to maintain and enhance its Identification Database Management System (iDMS) software and add efficiency to its global communications.

This is the fifth major donation by Microsoft to ICMP. It donated software in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015 under its global “Unlimited Potential” initiative, which provides software support to non-profit organizations.

“ICMP operates a state-of-the-art iDMS and runs programs in many different parts of the world,” said ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger. “Microsoft’s assistance has been and continues to be of paramount importance to us as we develop our human identification database and expand our communications network to manage projects separated by large distances.”

The iDMS is a specialized software solution developed by ICMP for managing large scale missing persons programs. It has a set of powerful…

Effective Tools to Account for the Missing The Creation of a Modern International Organization

 

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On 24 November, Her Majesty Queen Noor spoke at the Blavatnik School of Government in Oxford, describing the creation and evolution of ICMP and the development of a new international consensus on how to deal with the global challenge of missing persons.

Queen Noor, who has been an ICMP Commissioner since 2001, noted that there ae now effective tools to address the global missing persons crisis created by natural disasters, conflict and migration. The processes and capacities developed by ICMP over the years are being applied throughout the world, from Iraq to Chile to Canada.

For a long time, accounting for people missing during conflict was treated under the Geneva Conventions, which require warring parties to record the identity of the dead and wounded and to share this information with enemy forces, but the nature of war has changed in the last 150 years,…

Albania Seeks to Address the Issue of Missing Persons from Communist Era

5 December 2015: A conference organized in Tirana on Friday by the Albanian Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth explored ways of implementing a strategy to account for the estimated 6,000 people who disappeared in the country during the period of authoritarian rule from 1944 to 1991.

“After adoption of the Law on opening the files from the Communist era, starting the program to find missing persons is one of the most important political decisions of the Albanian state,” said Minister of Social Welfare and Youth Blendi Klosi. “Opening the files and starting the program to find missing from the dictatorship era are parts of the same process.”

In March 2015, ICMP received an invitation from the Ministry of Social Welfare and Youth to discuss potential paths of cooperation between ICMP and the Albanian authorities to address the issue of persons missing during the period of the Communist regime. An ICMP…