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. http://bit.ly/1RH247s
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…
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.
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.” http://bit.ly/1oat2g7
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…
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,”…
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. http://bit.ly/1RlSjfz
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…
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. http://bit.ly/1Rk9hLk
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…
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. http://yhoo.it/1pZiOkh
CoE:Turkish army refusal to allow search an obstacle to progress in establishing the fate of missing persons in Cyprus
Famagusta Gazette from Cyprus…
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…
Prince Charles pays respects to Kosovo’s missing on final day of Balkan tour
The Telegraph carried a story on 19 March saying that Prince Charles on Saturday paid tribute to those missing since the 1998-1999 Kosovo war and to NATO-led peacekeepers killed there, on the last leg of a week-long Balkans tour. The 1990s Balkan wars claimed more than 130,000 lives and displaced millions of people. More than 13,000 people were killed in Kosovo, where pro-independence ethnic Albanian guerrillas fought the Serbian forces of late strongman Slobodan Milosevic. Almost 17 years after the war in Kosovo some 1,600 people, mostly ethnic Albanians, have still been unaccounted for. http://bit.ly/1RaFxTg
Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals in 2016 Near 155,000; Deaths Reach 467
IOM issued a statement on 18 March saying that with winter ending and warmer conditions prevailing, the Central Mediterranean migrant route between North Africa and Sicily has become busier, indicating a surge of…
Finding names and peace for Vietnam’s war dead
Deutsche Welle carried a story today saying that with German support, the Vietnamese government has begun an effort to identify the remains of 500,000 war dead. But the effects of decades-long contamination will make this a tough task. Now the government has decided to systematically deal with the entirety of graves in the country once and for all. The genetic material is “very strongly degraded” due to climate in Vietnam and this will be a challenge for experts. Experts point out to the participation of the ICMP, which collects data on persons gone missing as a result of war and natural disaster. It’s important that the ICMP shares the lessons it gathered in former Yugoslavia with the Vietnamese, experts say. http://bit.ly/1nTy40i
Ukraine: Fear and repression in Crimea in 2 years of Russian rule
Human Rights Watch issued a statement today saying that Russian…