Monthly Archives: May 2015

Daily World News Digest, 6 May 2015

Two skeletons found at trafficking camps in southern Thailand

The BBC reported on 5 May that Thai officials say they have found two skeletons possibly linked to people smuggling, days after the discovery of 26 bodies in a mass grave. Both skeletons were found in abandoned camps in Phang Nga province, the local governor said. One was tied to a tree. Phang Nga is several hundred kilometres from the site in Songkhla province where 26 bodies were found last week. Three Thais and a Burmese national have been arrested in Thailand on suspicion of human trafficking. The mass grave containing 26 bodies was discovered in an abandoned jungle camp close to the Malaysian border – an area regularly used by people-smugglers. Separately, a second camp with at least another five graves has been found in Songkhla province, officials said on Tuesday. The area is on a route regularly used by…

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…

Daily World News Digest, 5 May 2015

Libya/Tunisia: Presumed Death of Missing Journalists

Human Rights Watch reported on 1 May that officials from the internationally recognized Libyan government said in a statement on April 29, 2015, that two Tunisian journalists who had been missing in eastern Libya since September 2014 had been killed. The government said it did not provide any evidence due to difficulties in reaching the area where the bodies of the journalists are said to be located. The authorities also said that they had obtained information about the killings of a Libyan TV crew of five working for Al-Barqa TV, missing since August. Human Rights Watch is unable to independently verify any of the alleged killings. Human Rights Watch has documented killings of eight journalists in Libya and attacks against dozens of others since 2012. If it is confirmed that the foreign journalists have been killed, Libyan authorities should do everything possible to locate…