Monthly Archives: July 2016

Daily World News Digest, 29 July 2016

Iraqi forces find mass grave containing 25 ISIS victims inside school in Fallujah after seizing city back from the terror group

Daily Mail, a daily from the UK, reported yesterday that a mass grave containing the human remains of 25 ISIS victims has been discovered in a school in war-torn Fallujah, Iraq. The city was recaptured in the end of May after brutal fighting between Iraqi forces and the ISIS. The terror group fled leaving behind a broken city of bomb-rigged buildings and empty streets. Iraqi forces searched buildings and found the bones that show traces of gunfire amid fears the victims were all executed by extremists. A state official said the mass grave contained skeletal remains of 25 persons who were executed by ISIS during its control on the city. According to Daily Mail, Only scattered signs of ISIS’s self-declared ‘caliphate’ remain in the city, that was seized by anti-government fighters in…

Daily World News Digest, 28 July 2016

Security forces disperse protest of families of enforced disappearance cases

Daily News Egypt reported on 26 July that security forces dispersed on Monday a rally of families of enforced disappearance victims in front of the state-funded National Council for Human Rights (NCHR), according to the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI). Security forces harassed a number of journalists assigned to cover the rally and briefly detained nine of them, forcing them to delete all photos they captured of the rally, ANHRI reported. The nine journalists were released after the security forces verified their identities.

Transitional justice: CIEDP says it has screened 60pc of total plaints

The Kathmandupost reported on 28 July that the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) has screened 1,800 of the 2,780 complaints that the commission has received till date. Of them, the commission has forwarded 200 complaints for the second phase of investigation….

Daily World News Digest, 27 July 2016

Spain approves exhumation in sensitive civil war Valley of the Fallen tomb

Agencia EFE, a Spanish news agency, reported yesterday that Spain has given the green light to exhume two bodies of founding members of the local branch of an anarchist union who were buried within the fascist-era monument called the Valley of the Fallen. Two brothers are believed to have been executed without a trial by pro-Franco forces early in the 1936-39 civil war and dumped in a mass grave. The bodies were later transferred without the family’s consent to the vast memorial north of Madrid where Franco, whom the brothers had opposed, was later buried. The District Court’s authorization for the exhumation recognized the “right to a dignified burial” and the exhumation is likely to reopen a debate about the fate of thousands of civil war victims.

Malaysian NGOs demand government action on human trafficking

Benar News, a daily…

Missing Persons: from Trauma to Effective Action

Queen Noor

By Her Majesty Queen Noor

Across the world from central America to southeast Asia people are on the move, desperately seeking to escape violence and poverty, while in large parts of the Middle East and Central Africa full-scale conflict is causing untold misery to millions.

We are all too familiar, now, with images of mass graves and of desperate families struggling to cross dangerous seas and inhospitable terrain. This is what we can see. There are tens of thousands who perish, whose bodies are never identified, whose deaths are never recorded – multiple tragedies that are not seen. Aid agencies have been warning for months, for example, that fatality rates among those trying to cross the Mediterranean may be just a fraction of the overall death rate, since thousands disappear in the Sahara desert before they reach the Libyan transit ports.

The total number…

Daily World News Digest, 26 July 2016

When a migrant’s desperate journey becomes a deadly journey

The PBS NewsHour, a daily from the US, carried a story yesterday about the last week’s disaster when 22 bodies of migrants were recovered off the Libyan coast. This was witnessed and recorded by the PBS NewsHour special correspondent Malcolm Brabant who spent two weeks on board a rescue ship Aquarius that is jointly operated by Doctors Without Borders and SOS Mediterranee. According to the PBS NewsHour, the identities of all but one of the migrants whose bodies were found last week are unknown, and they will be buried in an unmarked grave. The story represents a correspondence between Mr Brabant and the victims, rescuers and doctors who took part in this disastrous accident. During his talk with the representatives of Doctors Without Borders, Mr Brabant explained that the ICMP is an organization that has the personnel, the technology and the…

World News Digest June

APTOPIX Europe Migrants


Reuters reported on the 2 June that a group of 113 mostly Afghan migrants had landed on Crete, the first major arrival on the island since the migrant crisis began. Also on 2 June reported that Germany expects up to 100,000 undocumented migrants to leave the country in 2016. “If the current trend continues then we will reach a total of between 90,000 and 100,000 deportations and voluntary returns,” Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters. reported on 6 June that 31 migrants who survived when their boat sank off Crete had arrived in Egypt on Monday along with the bodies of nine people who died. PBS Newshour reported on 7 June that the authorities in Sicily have uncovered a $4 billion fraud scheme involving a reception center for migrants. On 7…

Regional Coordination of Families of the Missing from the Former Yugoslavia and ICMP agree that the Search for the Missing Must Continue



Regional Coordination of Families of the Missing from the Former Yugoslavia (RCC) and the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) hosted a two day conference in Sarajevo, BIH, on 14 and 15 June to mark ICMP’s 20 year anniversary. The participants included representatives from the Regional Coordination of Families of the Missing from the Former Yugoslavia, members of Family Associations from the region, the EU Special Representative to Bosnia and Herzegovina, representatives from the Prosecutor’s Office, the U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, presidents and chairpersons of Government Commissions on Missing persons from the countries of the former Yugoslavia, representatives of NGOs and other individuals involved in the process of transitional justice and the issue of missing persons, and ICMP Director General and the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program. The conference included panel and roundtable discussions and Questions and Answers sessions…

DNA-Led Human Identification


ICMP Science and Technology Director Dr Thomas Parsons reviews the evolution of DNA-led human identification techniques in the course of the last 20 years.

DNA testing for human identification is today used in forensic laboratories around the world, and may be familiar to many people through popular TV detective shows.  However, there was nothing routine about the situation in 1999  when ICMP began to consider the use of DNA identification to help identify some of the 40,000 people missing as a result of the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. At that time, it was not known if DNA testing could be applied on a massive scale in such a context.

When ICMP decided to attempt a DNA approach, DNA testing from degraded human bones was almost exclusively the domain of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) testing.  mtDNA is present in thousands of copies per cell, so…

Ten Lessons from 20 Years Of Searching for the Missing


ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger sums up essential elements of a successful missing persons process, gleaned from ICMP’s unique mandate and experience.

Twenty years ago at the end of June, the G-7 leaders meeting in Lyon discussed the issue of more than 40,000 people who were missing from the conflicts in former Yugoslavia. The leaders understood that such a large number of missing persons undermined prospects for lasting peace.

They also understood that accounting for the missing isn’t in the first instance a humanitarian exercise, but an exercise in upholding the rule of law.

US Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, proposed the creation of an international blue ribbon commission. On 29 June 1996, the White House released a statement by President Clinton announcing the establishment of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

Today, more than 70 percent of the 40,000 persons missing in the Western Balkans…

ICMP’s Archaeology and Anthropology Division team efforts over the last two decades in the Western Balkans and Iraq

A forensic expert of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) works on trying to identify the remains of a victim of the Srebrenica massacre, at the ICMP centre near Tuzla

Ian Hanson describes the role of ICMP’s archaeology and anthropology teams in locating and excavating clandestine graves.

Since 1996, ICMP has helped Bosnia and Herzegovina develop institutional and technical capacity to address the issue of missing persons in a non-discriminatory manner, incorporating international standards. The BIH Law on Missing Persons, enacted in 2004, was the first such piece of legislation in a post-conflict country related to missing persons anywhere in the world. It codifies the “right to the truth regarding the fate of missing relatives,” as well as a right to be informed about investigation efforts. It established the Missing Persons Institute (MPI) as an institution of the State and with a…