Monthly Archives: May 2015

Effort to Account for the Missing Must Continue

BiH Minister for Human Rights and Refugees Semiha Borovac said today that the new authorities are committed to sustaining the effort to account for the missing and implementing the recommendations in the International Commission for Missing Persons (ICMP) BiH Stocktaking Report.

Ms Borovac was speaking at the conclusion of an ICMP presentation at the BiH Parliament. She said that while Bosnia and Herzegovina is leading the world in accounting for missing persons from conflict, with over 70 percent of the 30,000 persons now accounted for, it must create a roadmap for finding the remaining 8,000 persons.

The presentation highlighted the need for more technical experts, for better coordination between the Prosecutor’s Office and the Missing Persons Institute (MPI) and for appropriate funding for the MPI.

ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said families of the missing are frustrated by the failure of successive administrations to implement the Law on Missing Persons fully. “The Law…

Analysis of Unidentified Remains Begins in Travnik

Following a meeting of the working group on the review of unidentified remains in BiH mortuaries, in Visoko on 22 May in the presence of the Prosecutor’s Offices, MPI Directors and Investigators, Legal Medicine Specialist, and Police investigators, it was agreed that anthropological analysis of unidentified remains – the Travnik cases – under the jurisdiction of the Central Bosnia Canton Prosecutor’s Office will begin in the course of this week.

Relevant authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina at every level are conducting a thorough review of all 11 mortuaries in the country to establish why almost 3,000 bone samples received from local authorities do not match the genetic profiles of nearly 9,000 complete sets of reference samples provided by more than 27,000 family members with missing relatives.  It is not yet clear why such a large number of bone samples do not match the available genetic profiles.

The review process undertaken by…

Libya Must Account for the Missing, Uphold the Rights of Families

Libyan lawyers and other stakeholders, meeting at a seminar in Istanbul, today called on the parties preparing a national dialogue in Libya to make a formal commitment not only to work towards disclosing the fate of missing persons but to conduct investigations and also to safeguard the rights of families.

Legal experts, civil society activists and government representatives from Libya participated in a seminar on Monday and Tuesday on “criminal Procedure and the use of evidence in court-led processes on mass graves and missing persons in Libya”. The seminar, organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons, was designed to help Libyan stakeholders develop a legal framework through which the issue of missing persons in Libya can be addressed effectively when the operating environment stabilizes.

Under ICMP auspices, experts from the Netherlands Forensic Institute, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Court, the Libyan National Dialogue Preparatory…

Memories that Divide: Memories that Heal

The following is an abridged version of a detailed report prepared by Viktorija Ruzicic-Tokic, a former Program Officer at ICMP, analyzing the memorialization challenges in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

For many years, ICMP has actively facilitated discussions among different civil society organizations (CSOs) on remembrance and universal memorialization of missing persons in the Western Balkans. The object has been to bring together associations of families of missing persons, CSOs and human rights activists with a view to creating a better understanding of the concept of memorialization and its significance to transitional justice in the region, and also to develop joint approaches to memorializing more than 41,000 missing persons in the Western Balkans.

Since 2010, ICMP has initiated a series of consultations and dialogue sessions throughout the region. These sessions have shown that the best way to foster agreement on a universal approach to memorializing missing persons is to…

Forum in Germany Examines Latest Trends in Forensic Science

ICMP was invited by the technology company QIAGEN and the Association for the Advancement of Clinical and Experimental Molecular Endocrinology to give a presentation at the 4th Investigator Forum in Mettmann, Germany, from 14th to 16th April.

This forum gathered around 100 scientists from 22 different countries including well-known researchers such as David Ballard (Kings College), Kees van der Beek (Netherlands Forensic Institute), John Butler (National Institute of Standards and Technologies), Manfred Kayser (Erasmus University), Peter de Knijff (Leiden University), Walther Parson (Innsbruck University), Chris Phillips (Santiago de Compostela University), and Peter Schneider (Cologne Institute of Legal Medicine).

Four workshops preceded the main session. Dr. Sylvain Amory, DNA Validation and Development Coordinator in ICMP’s Forensic Science/DNA Laboratories Division, attended the session focused on the application and value of non-STR markers in forensic analysis. The workshop, organized by Chris Phillips and Walther Parson, included talks on the use of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms…

ICMP in the Philippines

ICMP's FSD Training Coordinator Dr. Zoran Budimlija with FSS 2015 hosts

According to the World Risk Index. The country experiences more than 20 typhoons annually, yet it does not have a disaster victim identification protocol fully in place. As a result, a large number of human remains, including those from Typhoon Sendong (lligan and Cagayan in December 2011), Typhoon Pablo (Davao, December 2012) and Typhoon Haiyan (Tacloban, November 2013) are still waiting to be identified, pending financial and logistical support In addition, there is no legal framework for the use of DNA in criminal trials: more than 90% of convictions, including capital convictions, are based on witness testimony.

Recognizing the need to facilitate scientific applications in the Philippines justice system and Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) process, faculty and students of the University…

Gender and collective memory

Members of the Forum on Joint Memorialization of Missing Persons hold silhouettes of missing persons Photo: Velija Hasanbegovic, Radio Sarajevo

Bojana Djokanovic examines evolving patterns of memorialization and looks at the role of women and civil society in commemorating the dead and missing from modern conflicts.


The Oxford online dictionary defines memorialization, in its verb form, as a means to “preserve the memory of; commemorate.” .

Memorialization is construed as a process of preserving…

Global Missing Persons Trends

© Amnesty Int.

ICMP’s Daily World News Digest   brings together news stories dealing with enforced disappearances and missing persons cases from around the world. It offers a snapshot of daily events and over a longer period it highlights key trends.

Mediterranean Migration

In April the European Union scrambled to produce a credible and humane response to a series of fatal incidents in the Mediterranean involving migrants seeking refuge from instability in the Middle East and parts of Africa. The EU had faced widespread criticism for what was perceived as its callous indifference to the migration crisis.

On 10 April the BBC reported  an announcement by Medecins Sans Frontieres that it planned to launch a search and rescue mission to save migrants trying to reach Europe by boat. The aid agency said it would operate a 40-meter ship, the MY Phoenix, from May to October. MSF rejected UK government claims that such services encourage…

Iraqi Road Map on Missing Persons Issues

5 May 2015: Representatives of family associations and government ministries, along with legal experts and civil society activists came together in Baghdad and Erbil this week to explore ways of facilitating an effective, fair and modern missing persons process.

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) organized the roundtable meetings (29 and 30 April in Baghdad, and 3 and 4 May in Erbil) as part of an extended consultation on a sustainable missing persons process that can realistically be developed amid severe political and security challenges in Iraq.

At the opening roundtable session in the Parliament Building in Baghdad on 29 April, Speaker of the Parliament Salim Al-Jabouri called on participants to draft a “road map” on accounting for missing persons through legal and judicial means.

Dr. Al-Jabouri expressed his appreciation for the role ICMP has played in helping the Iraqi authorities address the issue of missing person. He called for the…