Monthly Archives: March 2015

Daily World News Digest, 18 March 2015

Serbia arrests seven over 1995 Srebrenica massacre

The BBC reports today that Serbian police have arrested seven men accused of taking part in the murder of more than 1,000 Muslims at a warehouse on the outskirts of Srebrenica. The seven are among the first to be arrested by Serbia for carrying out the Srebrenica massacre in July 1995, Serbian and Bosnian prosecutors say. Serbia has previously detained individuals not directly involved in the killings. In 2011 it handed Ratko Mladic over to the Hague Tribunal. http://bbc.in/1ADWICm

Enforced disappearances reported in Cairo

The website of Alkarama, an activist organization, reported on 17 March that on Thursday 12 March the organization sent an urgent appeal to the UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearances (WGEID) regarding the disappearances of Ibrahim Ahmed Shaker, aged 20, Serag Eldin Ali Awad Abdel Mawla, 17, Metwally Abou Al Majd Suleiman Mohamed, 45 and his son Hisham Metwally Abou…

The Extraordinary Promise Of Next Generation DNA Sequencing

The Human Identification Solutions Conference organized by Life Technologies in Madrid at the beginning of March highlighted the new capabilities made possible by Next Generation DNA Sequencing (also known as Massively Parallel Sequencing). With Next Gen techniques, the cost of sequencing DNA in medical and academic work has been slashed and progress is being made toward routine accessibility and widespread use within three to five years.

Conference presentations covered the development of new genetic “marker” systems for human identification, and their incorporation in robust, commercially available tests. Using modifications to standard DNA profiling methods, new systems for quantification and typing of DNA permit many more loci to be tested simultaneously, with even higher levels of sensitivity on trace or degraded samples. DNA “lineage markers” such as mitochondrial DNA (which follow maternal lineages) and the Y-chromosome (which follows paternal lineages) were discussed, with, among other things, attention given to new…

Implement the Law on Missing Persons

The authorities must implement the BiH Law on Missing Persons fully and as a matter of urgency, participants at a roundtable in Mostar agreed today.

The roundtable, organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), brought together representatives of family associations and the authorities as well as academic and legal experts to discuss ways of increasing the effectiveness of efforts to account for the missing.

The BiH Law on Missing Persons was enacted at the end of 2004, providing for the establishment of the Missing Persons Institute (MPI) to coordinate the search for the missing, the establishment of the Central Records of Missing Persons, and the establishment of a Fund to ensure that families of the missing receive necessary financial support. The Law also prescribes procedures for memorials.

The MPI was launched in 2005 and became fully operational in 2008.  The Central Records were created in 2011, but only half of…

Daily World News Digest, 17 March 2015

Women Often Forgotten in Cases of Forced Disappearance

On 16 March the AllAfrica news portal covered the release of “The Disappeared and Invisible: Revealing the Enduring Impact of Enforced Disappearances on Women,” a report by the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ). The ICTJ notes that while women are a minority of those who are forcibly disappeared, they represent “the majority of family members who suffer exacerbated social, economic, and psychological disadvantages as a result of the loss of a male family member who is often a breadwinner.” Surveying 31 countries – mostly in Africa and Central and South America – the ICTJ report states that in addition to torture and ill treatment, women who are illegally detained are often subject to gender-based violence including sexual violence and separation from their children. http://bit.ly/1BLVOGF

China detained nearly 1,000 activists last year: report

The China Post reports today that Chinese authorities detained nearly…

Daily World News Digest, 16 March 2015

Student forcibly disappeared in town south of Cairo

Daily News Egypt reported on 15 March that a high school student has been forcibly disappeared in Fayoum, southwest of Cairo. Abdallah Mohamed Aly, 17, was arrested at his home on 6 March, according to his lawyer, who said there have been weekly cases of disapearances in Fayoum since the beginning of the year. His family have submitted reports to the Prosecutor General and local police stations in Fayoum, but so far no trace of him has been found. , Daily News Egypt said. Mahmoud Hassan told the paper there have been weekly cases of enforced disappearances in Fayoum since the beginning of 2015. A nine-year-old child is to be tried by a Fayoum military court after allegedly attacking security forces and burning electricity transformers, relatives and a legal support group told Daily News Egypt. The Ministry of Interior reported on Saturday…

Daily World News Digest, 13 March 2015

Memorial Forest in memory of Srebrenica Victims

The Klix.ba news portal reported on 12 March that the community of Gorazde in easter Bosnia and Herzegovina will pay tribute to the victims of genocide in Srebrenica by planting a Memorial Forest with 8,372 trees to mark the 20th anniversary of the massacre. The aim is to create a permanent memorial. The landscaped complex will cover 4.3 hectares. Work will formally begin on 19 March at 10:15 pm, when the first trees will be planted. http://bit.ly/1Cbc2Lj

EU seeks solutions to Mediterranean crisis

The BBC reported on 12 March on the expected surge in illegal migration across the Mediterranean as spring improves the weather prospects for the crossing. The report refers to “Men, women and children screaming, praying and, appallingly, many dying, in clapped out old boats,” and notes that “Waves and waves” of migrants will be sent across the Mediterranean “by smugglers, who…

Daily World News Digest, 12 March 2015

Reports of UN Srebrenica Declaration Divide Bosnia

BalkanInsight reported on 11 March that representatives of different communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina have taken opposing stances on a reported plan to mark the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre by declaring 11 July an annual remembrance day for more than 7,000 men and boys killed by Bosnian Serb forces in 1995. Bosnian media report a draft UN General Assembly resolution as calling for the international day of remembrance to be marked with “special observances and activities in memory of victims of the Srebrenica genocide.” The Dutch embassy in Sarajevo, although noting that the Netherlands was not the UN member that had initiated the resolution, expressed regret that some politicians in Bosnia have immediately reacted to the possibility of a UN resolution with negative comments, “including genocide denial and divisive rhetoric,” adding that “The facts of the genocide in Srebrenica have been…

Accounting for the missing is a fundamental requirement of justice

Alma Dzaferovic, the Head of the War Crimes Department in Tuzla Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office and a member of the BiH High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council

A recent survey found that an overwhelming majority of people in Bosnia and Herzegovina (more than 80 percent) believe that accounting for the missing contributes to post-war recovery and, in the long term, reconciliation, Alma Dzaferovic, the Head of the War Crimes Department in Tuzla Cantonal Prosecutor’s Office and a member of the BiH High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council, wrote in a column that appeared in the RadioSarajevo.ba news portal this week.

“A key element in the effort to account for the missing is to recognize that prosecuting criminals and searching for their victims is not something that affects just families of the missing: it affects everyone. If criminals walk free, citizens cannot rely on the protection of the law,” she wrote. “Also – in practical terms – if criminals walk free they will not be obliged to give up whatever information they may possess regarding the fate of those…

Daily World News Digest, 11 March 2015

Market for abducted children in China

BBC News reports today that an illegal market in children has developed in China, in which babies are being openly sold online. The Chinese government provides no figures, but the US State Department has estimated that 20,000 children are abducted annually, or 400 a week, the BBC reported. Chinese state media have suggested the true figure could even be 200,000 per year, though the police reject this higher estimate. A baby boy can sell for up to $16,000, according to the report, double the price for a girl. http://bbc.in/1GqmRIr

Missing Indonesians “have not joined IS”

The Jakarta Post reported on 10 March that Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla has said he does not believe that 16 Indonesian citizens reported missing in Turkey last month have joined Islamic State (IS). The Vice President urged government authorities to seek complete information on the whereabouts of the 16…

Rule of Law is Key to Accounting for the Missing

Upholding the rule of law is key to sustaining the effort to account for the missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina as the country approaches the 20th anniversary of the end of the war, participants at a roundtable in Tuzla agreed today.

The roundtable, organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), brought together representatives of family associations and the authorities as well as academic and legal experts to discuss ways of increasing the effectiveness of efforts to account for the missing.

Participants noted that prosecuting war criminals and searching for their victims is not something that affects just families of the missing: it affects everyone, because if criminals walk free, citizens cannot rely on the protection of the law, and – in practical terms – if criminals walk free they will not be obliged to give up whatever information they may possess regarding the fate of those who are still…