Monthly Archives: April 2015

Systematic, Professional and Impartial Effort to Find the Missing Must Continue

21 April 2015: The authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina must maintain a systematic, professional, and impartial effort to account for the missing, even though nearly 20 years have passed since the end of the conflict, Chairman of the BiH Council of Ministers Denis Zvizdic said today.

Mr Zvizdic was speaking during a meeting in Sarajevo with Kathryne Bomberger, Director-General of the International Commission Persons (ICMP). At the meeting Ms Bomberger briefed the Chairman of the Council of Ministers on ICMP’s Stocktaking Report, which describes in detail the efforts that have been undertaken over more than two decades to account for the missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He stressed that the key institutions responsible for addressing the missing persons issue, the Missing Persons Institute and the BiH Prosecutor’s Office, must be given the political, administrative and financial support that they need in order to do their job, and all available methods should be…

Daily World News Digest, 20 April 2015

Mediterranean migrant deaths: EU faces renewed pressure

The BBC reports today that Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has led calls for more European Union action on sea migration after the latest deadly capsize of a boat in the Mediterranean. Demanding a summit on the issue, Mr Renzi said trafficking was “a plague in our continent” and bemoaned the lack of European solidarity. The 20m (70ft) long boat was believed to be carrying up to 700 migrants, and only 28 survivors have been rescued. Up to 1,500 migrants are now feared to have drowned this year alone. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said the latest sinking could amount to the largest loss of life during a migrant crossing to Europe. Mr Renzi singled out Libya as the key problem, saying it was the starting point for about 90% of the migrants reaching Italy by sea. He said more rescue…

Daily World News Digest, 17 April 2015

Bosnian Serb leader pays ‘historic’ visit to Srebrenica

Balkan Insight reports today on the visit to Srebrenica by Milorad Dodik, the president of Bosnia’s Serb-dominated entity Republika Srpska. On Thursday Dodik paid tribute to the victims of the 1995 massacres by Serb forces during an unusually reconciliatory visit, the report says.RS Dodik laid flowers at the memorial center. “It is true that a crime happened here and I am sorry for all the victims, but the fact is that this event is also being politicized a lot,” he told local media. “The very act of him coming into the memorial center, laying flowers and paying respect to the victims says enough about his behavior, both official and individual,” Srebrenica Mayor Camil Durakovic told media. “For me, this is a historic act, a positive visit which will significantly ease relations between the municipality of Srebrenica and the government as well as…

A Joint Effort to Account for the Missing

Banja Luka RT participants discussing about ICMP's Stocktaking Report

17 April 2015: Participants at a Roundtable organized by ICMP in Banja Luka today stressed the need to continue the joint effort to account for the missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bosnia and Herzegovina leads the world in the ratio of missing persons it has been able to account for following the conflict of the 1990s: more than 70 percent – around 23,000 of roughly 31,500 reported missing.

This has been possible because the work of accounting for the missing has been undertaken in a coordinated, systematic and science-based manner.

Since ICMP first pioneered the use of DNA in 2001, almost 15,000 DNA identifications have been made in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The sophisticated database technology developed by ICMP to match blood samples given by family members with DNA extracted from human remains is now used all over the world. In addition to a dedicated software program, this technology has required a major…

Daily World News Digest, 16 April 2015

Migrants can’t be left to die in the seas of Europe 

The Guardian reported on 15 April that around 400 migrants are feared dead after drowning between Libya and Italy. And just two days ago, Italian coastguards rescued over 6,000 stricken migrants who had attempted to reach Europe from the North African coast.  Last autumn, the EU opted not to create a like-for-like replacement for Operation Mare Nostrum, a huge Italian-run search-and-rescue operation that saved up to 100,000 lives in the Mediterranean in 2014. In the words of one British minister, Baroness Anelay, Mare Nostrum created “an unintended ‘pull factor’, encouraging more migrants to attempt the dangerous sea crossing and thereby leading to more tragic and unnecessary deaths”. Six months on, the facts suggest otherwise. The number of people who attempted to cross the sea to Italy in the first quarter of 2015 was only fractionally smaller than the number…

Daily World News Digest, 15 April 2015


Hundreds of migrants feared drowned off Libya

The BBC reports today that about 400 migrants are feared drowned after their boat capsized off Libya. The report cites testimony given by survivors to Save the Children. The Italian coast guard had rescued 144 people on Monday and launched an air and sea search operation in hopes of rescuing others. Save the Children said that many of the survivors were “young men, probably minors”. The European Union says that more than 7,000 migrants have been rescued from the Mediterranean since Friday. Survivors say that the latest tragedy happened after the boat, carrying about 550 migrants in total, overturned a day after leaving Libya. Nine bodies have already been recovered, but no more survivors have been found since then.

Syria: 16-year-old student missing since 2012

The Alkarama NGO issued a statement on 14 April saying that it has written to the UN Working…

Daily World News Digest, 14 April 2015

MSF to launch Mediterranean migrant rescue boat

The BBC reported on 10 April that Medecins Sans Frontieres is to launch a search and rescue mission in the Mediterranean to save migrants trying to reach Europe by boat. The aid agency will operate a 40-meter ship, the MY Phoenix, from May to October, when thousands more people are expected to attempt the perilous journey. MSF has rejected UK government claims that such services encourage more people-smuggling ships. Its small operation, to be run with the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), will see the MY Phoenix staffed by a medical team including two doctors and a nurse as well as high-speed inflatable boats and surveillance drones. The Italian navy’s search and rescue mission, Mare Nostrum, ended in November last year after some EU members said they could not afford to fund it. Last year an estimated 3,400 migrants, mostly from Africa, died…

ICMP International Treaty to Come into Force

The Hague, 10 April 2015: In early April the United Kingdom followed Sweden in ratifying the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the ICMP, which opened the way for the Agreement to come into force in mid May. The Framework Agreement was signed in Brussels on 15 December by the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Luxembourg and Sweden. The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg will ratify the treaty during 2015.

The Agreement constitutes ICMP as a treaty-based international organization with its own system of governance and international capacities. It provides for a new organizational structure, including a Board of Commissioners as its principal organ and a Conference of State Parties.

“ICMP has now taken a major step forward in meeting the global challenge of addressing the issue of missing persons from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, migration and other causes,” said ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger.

The Framework Agreement stipulates that…

Daily World News Digest, 10 April 2015

Mass graves in Mexico

The Aleteia news portal reports today that a recent report from the office of the Mexican Attorney General revealed that, of the 601 bodies found between 1 December 2006 and 28 February 2015, in 174 secret mass graves spread throughout the country, 80 percent have not yet been identified. The Attorney General’s report indicated that 302 of the bodies that have been found were male, while 40 were female. The status of the remaining bodies has not been determined. The report was obtained by the newspaper El Universal under Mexico’s new Transparency Law, which obliges authorities to give information to organizations or individuals who request it. In the report, the Attorney General’s office indicated that not all cases are documented “because some states do not work in coordination” with the office. The media report notes that the number of individuals found in mass graves is a…

Daily World News Digest, 9 April 2015

Bosnian Serb General Tolimir jailed for genocide

BalkanInsight reported on 8 April that the Hague Tribunal has sentenced wartime General Zdravko Tolimir to life imprisonment for the genocide of Bosniaks from Srebrenica. Tolimir was acquitted on appeal of committing genocide in Zepa. The UN-backed war crimes court on Wednesday rejected an appeal by Tolimir, the former intelligence chief of the Bosnian Serb Army’s Main Headquarters, against his conviction for genocide against thousands of Bosniak men and boys from Srebrenica in July 1995. Tolimir was a close aide to Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic.

Call for UN to pressure Syria on disappearances

The Geneva based Alkarama news portal reported on 8 April that it has written to the UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearances (WGEID) about the disappearance of Abdel Muti Ibrahim, a Syrian citizen, from Idlib Governorate. It describes the case of Ibrahim as the latest in a long…