Yearly Archives: 2015

Kosovo Forensic Agency Representatives Visit ICMP

Photo 1_KFA Representatives

Three senior representatives of the Kosovo Forensic Agency, Chief Executive Officer Blerim Olluri, Director of Serology and DNA Operations Sokol Dedaj, and Head of the DNA Laboratory Fatmir Ademi, visited ICMP’s facilities in Sarajevo today, where they were briefed by Head of the Western Balkans Program Matthew Holliday, and senior ICMP forensic sciences staff.

Today’s visit is part of a four-day fact-finding trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina which has included visits to ICMP’s Identification Coordination Division and the Podrinje Identification Project, both in Tuzla, and ICMP’s laboratory in Banja Luka. In October, ICMP technical staff visited the KFA in Prishtina to assess ways in which ICMP can provide technical assistance to the KFA.

The KFA is primarily a crime laboratory. It was established in 2003 and has received extensive support from the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program.

Blerim Olluri noted that while…

Daily World News Digest, 19 November 2015

UN: Relatives of disappeared in Sri Lanka still face intimidations

Sri Lanka Guardian carried a story today saying that the UN delegation alleged that despite the change of the government in January this year, relatives of the disappeared persons are still facing intimidations and threats from different state stakeholders of the government. “When some families of disappeared met us for testimonials, they were harassed and intimidated by the officials of Criminal Investigation Department (CID). In some instances they were demanded by some individuals to provide money in exchange of information regarding their loved ones who went missing,” Vice Chair of UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, Bernard Duhaime, told in a press conference. It was concluded that disappearances were carried out in a structural pattern of impunity.

Balochistan: Relatives and activists appeal for immediate release of Baloch women and children

Balochwarna news portal reported today that the relatives…

El Salvador Signs ICMP Treaty

 Photo Caption: ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger, El Salvador Ambassador to the Netherlands Aida Luz Santos de Escobar, and Head of the Treaties Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands  J. Damoiseaux at the Signing of the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP)


El Salvador today became the sixth country to sign the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). In December 2014, the Agreement was signed by the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg. It recognizes ICMP as an international organization tasked with assisting countries in their efforts to address missing persons cases from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, migration and other causes.

Today’s signing ceremony will facilitate ICMP’s capacity to work with the authorities in El Salvador, where,…

Daily World News Digest, 18 November 2015

Mass graves of women in Iraq

The Telegraph carried a story on 17 November saying that after Kurdish forces liberated Sinjar from Islamic State militants, along with 28 other villages last week, they discovered two graves, one containing the corpses of older women and one believed to contain men, women and children. Over the past year, Islamic State forces have kidnapped thousands of young Yazidi women to use as sex slaves: now it’s clear what happened to those not deemed ‘’attractive enough’’. For the Yazidis, persecuted in Iraq, this is not just a war. It has all the marks of genocide, the report says. The Yazidis are a religious sect whose faith incorporates parts of several ancient Middle Eastern religions. To Isil, they are ‘’devil worshippers’’ – the lowest of the low – who should be either killed or enslaved.

UN group concludes Sri Lanka visit

The New Indian Express

Daily World News Digest, 17 November 2015

Parents of missing in Sri Lanka submit report to the UN Working Group

Colombo Page, a news portal from Sri Lanka, reported today that an activist organization representing the parents of the missing persons has submitted a report on the disappearances to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. Dead and Missing Persons Parents’ Front (MPPF) Monday handed over a report on 5,900 missing persons to the members of the working group who are currently on a visit to Sri Lanka at the invitation of the Sri Lanka government. Convener of the Front, Ananda Jayamanne, said the report consists details on more than 5,000 missing persons and the purpose of their move was to request the UN Working Group to conduct an investigation and provide a fair and just solution. A representative of the UN Group had promised the Dead and Missing Persons Parents Front they will present…

Daily World News Digest, 16 November 2015

Mass graves of Yazidi women found near Sinjar in north-west Iraq

The Telegraph reported on 15 November that two mass graves believed to contain the remains of members of the Yazidi community have been discovered near Sinjar, in north-west Iraq.  One grave was found to contain the remains of more than 70 elderly female Yazidis, while 60 bodies of women and children were identified in a second grave east of Sinjar. The graves were found just days after the retaking of Sinjar from Isil by Kurdish Peshmerga forces, backed by British and American air strikes. The Kurdish Security Council said that 28 villages had been taken during the operation and more than 80 square miles of territory freed from Isil control. Although a number of mass graves have already been discovered throughout Sinjar, the grave containing over 70 bodies is believed to be one of the largest. The grave has…

Much Work Still to Be Done To Account for the Missing in the Western Balkans

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) will endeavor to work in the Western Balkans as long as families of the missing and relevant institutions continue to request its assistance, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said in an interview published today in BH Dani. She pointed out that while more than 70 percent of the 40,000 people who went missing during the conflict have been accounted for, the fate of around 12,000 persons is still unknown, “which means that there is a lot of work still to be done.”

In December last year five governments signed an Agreement on ICMP, granting it a new status as an intergovernmental organization with a global mandate. The agreement stipulated that the organization would move its headquarters to The Hague, and this has now been done. However, a number of functions will remain in Bosnia and Herzegovina for several years. In addition, as long as…

Daily World News Digest, 13 November 2015

Mass grave of Yazidis in Iraq tells horror story

USA Today carried a story on 12 November saying that a few thousand people once lived in the Iraqi village of Sinuni, 270 miles north of Baghdad. Today, it is a ghost town with few signs of life — and a mass grave nearby where members of the Yazidi sect were slaughtered by Islamic State militants. It’s one of 11 mass graves discovered in northern Iraq by Kurdish residents. Those graves have yet to be unearthed because their locations are under Islamic State control. Human Rights Watch estimates the militants killed 3,000 to 5,000 people — burying some alive. The grave was first discovered in February by a Kurdish sheep herder. Among the 37 skeletal remains were women and children, some who appeared to be toddlers. Family members identified the decomposed victims through their clothing, trinkets and what little had been…

Daily World News Digest, 12 November 2015

Prime Minister of Serbia visited Srebrenica and announced a $5.4 million donation

The New York Times carried a story on 11 November saying that Serbia’s Prime Minister said Wednesday that his country was donating about $5.4 million to foster economic development in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, where about 8,000 Muslim men and boys were massacred by Bosnian Serb forces in 1995. Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic characterized the donation as a gesture of reconciliation. “Serbia looks to the future and wants the best possible relations with Bosniaks, to build up the best future, to spend the next hundred years in peace, to ensure that we all live better,” Mr. Vucic said.” While the move was heralded in Serbia as a gesture of good will, it was greeted with some skepticism in Bosnia. Although two international tribunals based at The Hague have ruled that the 1995 killings constituted genocide, in July,…

Daily World News Digest, 11 November 2015

EU raps Kosovo over war crimes prosecutions

Balkan Insight reported on 10 November that the European Commission’s 2015 progress report, published on Tuesday, says that Kosovo prosecutors lack the willingness and the capacity to investigate war crimes cases when former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army are involved. The report also says that local prosecutors are in need of basic training because of the lack of technical expertise to tackle war crimes cases. The report also says that the unresolved fate of missing persons from the 1990s conflict remains a humanitarian concern. Around 1,670 people are still missing after the end of the war in Kosovo in 1999.

Visiting UN rights group probes disappearance of dissidents in Sri Lanka

Colombo Page, an online newspaper from Sri Lanka, reported today that the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, which is on a mission to Sri Lanka, has met…