Monthly Archives: March 2016

Daily World News Digest, 31 March 2016

Experts from ICMP train Kurds on unearthing, documenting mass graves in Shingal

Rudaw news portal reported on 30 March that in its campaign to have the massacre of Yezidi Kurds in Shingal recognized as genocide and bringing war criminals to justice, the Kurdistan Region has reached out to international experts for training. Four experts from the Iraq Program of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) began a four-day crash course Monday, training Kurdish investigators on everything from unearthing mass graves to protecting and preparing evidence for international presentation. The training includes data collection, assessment and identification, team safety, documentation and protecting evidence.

Amnesty International Philippines dismayed with Aquino’s human rights record

Inquirrer, a daily from the Philippines, reported today that with his six-year term about to end in three months, Amnesty International Philippines (AIP) expressed dismay with the performance of President Aquino in addressing and stopping human rights violations….

Daily World News Digest, 30 March 2016

Mexico says experts investigating 43 students will cease work in April

Reuters reported on 29 March that an international panel of experts that picked apart the Mexican government’s account of what happened to 43 students who disappeared in 2014 will cease work in the country by late April, a senior government official said. Deputy Interior Minister Roberto Campa said the experts’ time in Mexico would come to a close by the end of April. “It should be Mexican institutions … that conclude the investigation, the search, and we should be capable of advancing in the attention we pay to the victims,” Campa said.

Thailand refugee policy scrutinized as China pursues dissidents

Voice of America carried a story today saying that human rights and refugee civil society organizations say Thailand’s policies towards asylum seekers and refugees has hardened in recent years. In the past year, dozens of Chinese asylum-seekers have been…

Daily World News Digest, 29 March 2016

ICMP begins exhuming Yazidi mass graves in Sinjar, Iraq

AhlulBayt News Agency reported on 28 March that a team of international experts began exhuming the mass graves of Yazidis on Sunday, March 27 and documenting the evidence of the atrocities committed by the ISIS militants against the religious minority of Yazidis in Sinjar. Trefor Williams, the Head of Iraq Program ICMP, explained that they are trying to preserve the mass graves sites to remain as evidences of massacres waged against Yazidis in Iraq. ICMP will be training and professionalizing local experts to continue exhuming the mass graves, Williams explained.

Nigeria: A year on, no word on 300 abducted children

Human Rights Watch issued a statement today saying that the Nigerian government should take urgent steps to secure the release of about 400 women and children, including at least 300 elementary school students, abducted by Boko Haram from the town of…

ICMP Assists in Locating Missing in Iraq

25 March 2016: On 21 and 22 March, ICMP personnel together with partners from the relevant authorities, placed fences and warning signs around the main mass gravesites in Sinjar. This is the first time that any form of protection has been provided at these sites.  The signs indicate that the gravesites should not be entered “in order to protect evidence and the crime scene to safeguard victims’ rights in international courts”.

ICMP has trained more than 550 Iraqi professionals from the various institutions engaged in the process of accounting for the missing, from across sectarian and national lines. It is now training technicians to begin the process of assistance in locating and accounting for missing persons from Sinjar.

Daily World News Digest, 25 March 2016

Karadzic verdict: ‘An important day for justice’ but ruling leaves life unchanged for thousands of survivors

Amnesty International UK issued a statement on 24 March saying that the guilty verdict handed down by the ICTY against former Bosnian-Serb leader Radovan Karadžić for genocide and other crimes under international law marks a major step towards justice for victims of the armed conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina. John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia, pointed out the importance of the verdict and said: “We should not forget, however, that more than 20 years after the Bosnian War, thousands of cases of enforced disappearances are unresolved, with a disturbing lack of political will still blocking access to justice, truth and reparation for victims.”

Srebrenica survivors disappointed, say Karadzic’s verdict came late

Yahoo News reported today that survivors of the Srebrenica massacre said the 40-year jail term handed down on Thursday to Bosnian…

An Affirmation of the Rule of Law

25 March 2016: ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said today that the verdict handed down by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in the case of Radovan Karadzic, following legal proceedings that have lasted for more than seven years, is an important affirmation of the rule of law.

Karadzic was convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war and sentenced to 40 years in prison.

He was convicted of genocide in the area of Srebrenica in 1995, of persecution, extermination, murder, deportation, inhumane acts (forcible transfer), terror, unlawful attacks on civilians and hostage-taking. He was acquitted of the charge of genocide in other municipalities in BiH in 1992.

“Those who killed unarmed civilians, and those who consciously created the circumstances that facilitated these crimes, believed they could erase the identity of their victims permanently. They were wrong,”…

Daily World News Digest, 24 March 2016

Verdict near for Karadzic, but his legacy remains in Bosnia

Voice of America carried a story on 23 March saying that Mirsada Malagic won’t be celebrating if former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is convicted and sentenced to life Thursday in his genocide and war crimes trial at a U.N. tribunal. Whatever the outcome of the case, Malagic said, Karadzic has already sentenced her to a life of mourning. Malagic testified against Karadzic during his trial at the ICTY. Serb forces killed her husband and two sons in Srebrenica. In 2009, forensic experts found the skeletons of her son Admir, 15, and her husband, Salko, in mass graves.

Dignity for executed political prisoners

IOL News, a portal from South Africa, reported on 23 March that more than 50 years ago, five members of the same family were hanged at Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre by the apartheid regime. They were…

Daily World News Digest, 23 March 2016

Washington makes large donation to missing persons fund in Cyprus

Famagusta Gazette reported today that the USA has donated $250,000 to the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP) in support of the work of the CMP. According to an announcement, issued by CMP, this contribution is provided through the UNDP-Action for Cooperation and Trust (ACT) Program.   This donation will contribute to the Committee’s goal of identifying and returning as many remains of missing individuals as possible in order to bring an end to the uncertainty which has affected so many families for so many years.

Bones hold secret in missing children cases

The Financial Mail carried a story today saying that research involving the major joints of the body has revealed information that could ultimately help in identifying the remains of missing children‚ the University of Cape Town said on Tuesday. In her PhD research‚ Dr Kavita Lakha…

Daily World News Digest, 22 March 2016

Karadzic faces day of reckoning at ICTY

Yahoo News reported on 21 March that once-feared Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic will Thursday stand before UN war crimes judges to learn if, 20 years on, they find him guilty of the worst atrocities in Europe since World War II. The notorious political leader faces 11 charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity arising out of the 1992-1995 Bosnian war in which 100,000 people perished and 2.2 million were forced from their homes. Karadzic’s verdict “will for sure be one of the most important in the history of the tribunal,” ICTY chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz said. About 100 representatives from survivors’ groups will attend Thursday’s judgment, including survivors of the detention camps and the mothers of Srebrenica.

CoE:Turkish army refusal to allow search an obstacle to progress in establishing the fate of missing persons in Cyprus

Famagusta Gazette from Cyprus…

Accounting for the Missing Is Key

Sarajevo 21 March 2016 – Resolving the issue of missing persons is a key element in sustaining reconciliation and stability throughout the region, Matthew Holliday, the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program, said today during a briefing in Pristina for HRH Prince Charles, who was visiting Kosovo as part of a regional tour.

At the briefing, organized at the Presidency/Assembly Building by the Government Commission on Missing Persons in Kosovo, Prince Charles met members of family associations of the missing, as well as officials and representatives of international organizations.

ICMP has worked to address the issue of missing persons in Kosovo since 1999. Since 2003 it has helped the authorities through DNA-based identifications, working initially with the UN Interim Administration (UNMIC) and since September 2008 with the EU Rule of Law Mission (EULEX). Using DNA, ICMP has helped to identify more than 2,500 of the…