Monthly Archives: July 2015

July Monthly World News Digest

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 Crisis

Fatalities and maritime rescue efforts were recorded throughout July as a result of the migratory pattern in the Mediterranean generated by conflict and sustained by ruthless human trafficking. Faced with an unprecedented flow of asylum seekers European governments struggled to fashion a response.

On 30 June the International Organization for Migration reported  that migrant arrivals in Italy had topped 20,000 in May and June respectively. Approximately 2,900 migrants who were rescued in the channel of Sicily in the last two days of June brought the total number of migrants arriving in Italy in the first half of 2014 to about 66,500 according to the IOM – a slight increase from…

EU Supports ICMP Program in Kosovo

31 July 2015: Following the signing of a grant agreement with the EU today, International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) will receive support for its program in Kosovo. ICMP has been providing assistance in locating and identifying missing persons from the Kosovo conflict since 1999. The EU grant, which totals 400,000 Euro, will help enhance ICMP’s efforts.

ICMP has been working to address the issue of persons missing as a consequence of the Kosovo conflict since 1999. Since 2003, ICMP has been assisting Kosovo through DNA-based identifications, first with UNMIK and since December 2008 with EULEX Department of Forensic Medicine. ICMP has also assisted the Government of Serbia since 2001, in locating, recovering and identifying the missing. ICMP has empowered several dozens of associations of families of missing persons to claim their right to truth and justice and to lobby the authorities to fulfill their obligations to account for the…

Facts and Figures on Srebrenica

At the beginning of July, ICMP published an Infographic on Srebrenica that provides details about the work that has been done during the last 20 years to account for the estimated 8,000 missing, including numbers of victims who have been identified by different means, and statistics on Srebrenica-related war-crimes cases.

ICMP has led a process that has made it possible to account for 6,930 of the missing from Srebrenica, roughly 90 percent of all those reported missing. By establishing facts about the fate of individuals and identifying victims by name, ICMP has helped to create a verifiable historical narrative of what happened, where it happened, when it happened and to whom it happened. This gives the lie to those who would circumvent inconvenient truths by branding them as fabrications.

ICMP’s work has made it possible for the survivors of Srebrenica, as well as those from other parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina…

Why we are excavating the dead of Srebrenica

On 9 July The Guardian published an article by ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger on the work done by ICMP over the last two decades to help families of the missing, the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and domestic and international courts locate and identify the victims of Srebrenica.

Following is the text of the article.

On Saturday, world attention will focus for a few hours on the town of Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia. The systematic killing that took place 20 years ago constitutes the only recognized genocide on European soil since the Second World War.

Weeks after the killings, the perpetrators returned, excavated the mass graves with mechanical diggers and transported bodies and body parts to secondary graves in an attempt to disperse and conceal evidence of the crime. This was an enormous undertaking considering that almost 8,000 people had been executed.

For nearly two decades, the International Commission…

Masculinities and Practices of Memorialization

Memorial for the Missing Perons in Argentina

Bojana Djokanovic and Rachele Sbrissa examine the impact of gender on memorializing the missing.

Globally, the majority of people who go missing from armed conflict and human rights abuses are men  and boys. This means that memorialization practices are mostly centered on the experiences and practices of women mourning and commemorating the death or enforced disappearance of male family members. While recognizing this fact, this article seeks to consider the practices of male commemoration and memorialization and to offer some thoughts on why these practices differ from those of women.

R.W. Connell, one of the most prominent theoreticians of the studies of masculinities, argues that gender and masculinity have to be understood as social practice structures reproduced within daily actions and historical settings ―masculinity is inherently relational and does not exist except in contrast to femininity. Thus, like femininity, masculinity is a social construct and is defined as everything…

Truth and Justice Will Prevail

ICMP Commissioner Queen Noor of Jordan spoke at the commemoration in Srebrenica marking the 20th anniversary of the genocide. ICMP Chair Thomas Miller, and Commissioners Wim Kok, Knut Vollebaek and Alistair Burt also participated at the ceremony, which was attended by world leaders and 50,000 mourners.

“We do not stand with you only to mourn, but to continue the long and steady process of seeking – and securing – truth and justice,” Queen Noor said.

She noted that almost 90 percent of around 8,000 who went missing from Srebrenica in July 1995 have been identified and buried with dignity. “Accounting for the missing has been indispensable in the struggle for justice; in the quest to answer lies with truth, to confront a monstrous crime with the steady, strong and certain application of the rule of law,” she said.

Queen Noor said the women of Srebrenica have endured the most painful adversity with…

ICMP Work Plan reflects new international status

In Sarajevo on 10 July, the Commissioners of the International Commission on Missing Persons held their 17th plenary meeting since ICMP was founded in 1996, and their first meeting since the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Sweden and Luxembourg signed a Framework Agreement in December last year establishing ICMP as a treaty-based international organization.

Former US Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Thomas Miller chaired the meeting, which was attended by Commissioners Queen Noor of Jordan, Wim Kok of the Netherlands, Knut Vollebaek of Norway, and Alistair Burt of the UK. Commissioner Rolf Ekeus of Sweden was unable to attend. ICMP Directors attended the meeting led by Director-General Kathryne Bomberger.

The Commissioners adopted Rules of Procedure in accordance with ICMP’s new international agreement and elected Thomas Miller as chair of the Board of Commissioners. They also reviewed and adopted ICMP’s work plan for the next three years.

In the period 2015 to 2018,…

Daily World News Digest, 31 July 2015

Lobby against India UNSC seat

The Asian Age reports today that a pressure group representing the families of the victims of enforced disappearances in Jammu and Kashmir has written to the member states of the United Nations not to support India’s move to become a permanent member of the Security Council. It was stated in the request that “the Indian State’s record comprises enforced disappearance of more than 8,000 people, existence of unmarked and mass graves, extrajudicial killings, torture, sexual assault and numerous other human rights violations.” “The Indian State never allowed the United Nations special rapporteur on enforced or involuntary disappearances to visit Jammu and Kashmir, and did not ratify the Convention against Enforced Disappearances,” it added.

New system homes in on missing persons

The PS News, Australian news portal, carried a story today saying that new technology developed by the national police information agency CrimTrac is expected to…

Daily World News Digest, 30 July 2015

Eight family members decapitated in north Mexico

The Sun Daily, Malaysian daily newspaper, reports today that eight people from the same family, including two minors, were kidnapped by masked gunmen and their decapitated bodies were found days later in northern Mexico, as authorities said on Wednesday. The bodies were found after a ninth member of the Martinez family escaped Sunday’s abduction near Casa Quemada, in the state of Chihuahua, and alerted the authorities, prosecutors said. The disappearance triggered a massive military operation in the region and the bodies were found this week. They were all men, with the youngest aged 15 and the oldest 42. The state of Chihuahua has endured much of the gruesome violence that has plagued Mexico in a drug war that has left tens of thousands of people dead nationwide since 2006, when soldiers were deployed to combat cartels.

Conference seeks solution to North Korean abductions


Daily World News Digest, 29 July 2015

Search for missing Mexican students: 60 mass graves found

The Latinos Post reported on 28 July that sixty mass graves were uncovered during the ongoing search for the 43 missing students that were abducted in Mexico in September last year. In a report by the attorney general’s office, 129 bodies were recovered from the graves. None of the remains was linked to the students who were kidnapped in Iguala. Since 2006, there are 23,000 people that have been reported missing. While their whereabouts remain unknown, 15,000 found bodies remain unidentified.

Pakistan: investigate the possible enforced disappearance and unlawful killing

Amnesty International issued a report on 27 July saying it is deeply concerned by reports of the enforced disappearance and killing of political activist, Raja Dahir Bhambro, whose death was confirmed by the Pakistan police on 25 July 2015. Human rights groups such as the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan have…