Yearly Archives: 2017

ICMP Convenes Session of Working Group

Baghdad, 23 November 2017: In Baghdad today, ICMP convened a meeting of the Working Group on Data Processing and Protection, focusing on steps that can be taken by Iraqi stakeholders to improve the legal framework supporting efforts to account for the missing. The Working Group brings together representatives of ministries and other government agencies and institutions in Iraq that have a public mandate to address the issue of the missing.

Today’s meeting examined personal data processing in the context of Articles 19 and 20 of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CED).

ICMP’s Director of Policy and Cooperation Andreas Kleiser presented internationally recognized principles relevant to efforts to investigate the whereabouts of the missing and the circumstances of their disappearance. He invited the group to meet again for further discussion of proposals for legislative reform that…

Justice and Rights for the Families of the Missing from Bosnia and Herzegovina

Kada Hotic from Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia, and Smilja Mitrovic from Bijeljina in the northeastern part of the country lost family members in the 1992-95 conflict. Their circumstances were different but for more than two decades, they have been engaged in the same struggle – to find out the fate of their loved ones and to secure justice for survivors.

Kada Hotic lost fifty members of her extended family in the Srebrenica Genocide, including her husband, her son, her two brothers and her brother-in-law.

Kada is the Vice President of the Mothers of Srebrenica Association. Dynamic and forthright, she says she became involved in the association as a way of coping with grief. “I’m working to ensure that what happened is not forgotten, and helping others too. While I have life, I will do everything in…

Germany Continues Support for ICMP in Iraq

The Hague, 6 November: The German Federal Foreign Office has provided ICMP with a grant of 1,178,445 Euros to continue its assistance in helping the Iraqi authorities address the vast and complicated issue of locating and identifying missing and disappeared persons from decades of conflict, human rights abuses and other causes. This grant builds upon earlier contributions made between 2010-2017 for Iraq and allows ICMP to expand its work through 2018.

Between 250,000 and one million people have gone missing in Iraq from decades of conflict and human rights abuse. Although the country has taken steps to address the issue through legislation and the establishment of institutions, including signing the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance in 2010, these efforts have been severely constrained by continuing and chronic instability. The inability to deal adequately with the missing persons issue has undermined attempts to address the…

ICMP & Civil Society Organizations in Iraq Explore Missing Persons Strategies

Erbil, 25 October 2017: The Iraq Program of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) organized a workshop today for civil society organizations that are working with ICMP to address the issue of missing persons in Iraq.

The workshop was held in Erbil and included participating organizations from Federal Iraq and the Kurdistan Region. The objective of the one-day event was to strengthen a network of civil society organizations to share information and work on missing persons campaigns and advocacy.

“We hope to grow this partnership and strengthen the ties among organizations concerned with the rights of families,” said Lena Larsson, the Head of ICMP’s Iraq Program. “We hope that after today, each of us will be able to leave with renewed energy to work for truth and justice for the many missing in Iraq.”

As many as one million people may have gone missing in Iraq as a result of political…

ICMP’s New Headquarters and Laboratory Deliver Effective Responses to a Global Challenge

The Hague: 24 October 2017: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is at the forefront of a global effort to address the issue of missing persons, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said today at the opening of a state-of-the-art DNA laboratory at ICMP’s new Headquarters in The Hague.

ICMP’s laboratory system focuses exclusively on missing persons identification and utilizes Next Generation Sequencing (NGS), a technique that is expected to deliver an exponential increase in the power of DNA identification.

“Countries must tackle the issue of missing persons in a coordinated and systematic way that respects the rights of families of the missing – and this is what ICMP can help them do,” said Ms. Bomberger.  ICMP has forged new relationships with governments and other partners around the world since it assumed the status of a treaty-based intergovernmental organization in 2015, she added.

Former Norwegian Foreign Minister Knut Vollebaek, representing the ICMP Board…

QIAGEN and ICMP launch next-generation DNA testing solutions for identifying missing persons

The Hague, 24 October 2017: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) today announced the launch of a cutting-edge next-generation sequencing (NGS) workflow created in collaboration with QIAGEN N.V. for ICMP’s missing persons DNA identification laboratory in The Hague, the Netherlands. The solution integrates QIAGEN’s GeneReader NGS System and spans all aspects of the DNA laboratory workflow, from sample extraction through final analysis, thereby creating a unique “sample to insight” user experience. The workflow includes automated QIAGEN instruments and consumables for DNA extraction, liquid handling, quantification, sample preparation and next generation, Massively Parallel Sequencing (MPS).


“QIAGEN’s support for ICMP is…

From Stockholm to Syria: Different Circumstances, Shared Experience of “Ambiguous Loss”

Muhanad Abulhusn is from the predominantly Druze city of As-Suwayda in southern Syria. He and his brother were detained incommunicado for extended periods by the Syrian regime. Ingrid Gudmundsson is a retired Mathematics teacher from Akersberga outside Stockholm. Her daughter and grand-daughter, and her former husband went missing in Thailand as a result of the December 2004 tsunami. Muhanad and Ingrid’s experiences overlap even though the circumstances in which they encountered the worldwide phenomenon of missing persons are entirely different.

This diversity of circumstances in which people go missing is reflected in ICMP’s mandate, which is to secure the cooperation of governments and others in locating and identifying missing persons from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, irregular migration and other causes. People whose loved ones go missing are confronted by different challenges. For example, when persons go missing in a natural disaster, relatives may suffer the “ambiguous loss”…

EU Maintains Support for ICMP, Helps Bosnia and Herzegovina Find Missing Persons

Sarajevo, 19 October: The European Union has granted three million euros to the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) 2016, for a two-year project to continue helping the Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) authorities to locate and identify the estimated 7,000 persons who are still missing from the 1992-95 conflict.

Under the EU-funded project, ICMP, a treaty-based International organization headquartered in The Hague, will continue to help the authorities in BIH address the interrelated issues of unidentified remains held in BiH mortuaries and misidentifications that occurred before ICMP introduced DNA testing in 2001. ICMP will maintain Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology activities and will continue to deliver DNA matching and identification. It will also seek to ensure increased use of its Online Inquiry Center (OIC) by individuals and organizations in BiH.

“Previous EU funds have been a significant…

ICMP to Launch Program in Albania

The Hague, 29 September: In Tirana this morning, Prime Minister Edi Rama and Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) Kathryne Bomberger discussed next steps in establishing a program to assist the government of Albania to account for those who went missing during the Communist period (1945 to 1991) and other cases of missing persons.

The initial phase of the project will include efforts to identify missing persons recovered from the mass grave discovered near Mount Dajti northeast of Tirana in 2010 and from a site in Ballsh in southern Albania.

“ICMP welcomes the readiness of the Government of Albania to address the issue of missing persons in an effective way,” Kathryne Bomberger said today. Referring to the 2015 Law on Opening the Communist Files, she noted that “dealing with the issue of missing persons from the Communist period demonstrates a commitment…

Brazil: ICMP Helps Identify Sao Paulo Mass Grave Victims

A leading forensic scientist and a representative of families of the missing have delivered DNA samples to ICMP’s laboratory system in September, inaugurating a program through which ICMP will help the authorities in Brazil in their efforts to identify the remains of people who were victims of enforced disappearance almost half a century ago.

 A Man on a Mission to Help Families of the Missing

Dr. Samuel Ferreira, the Scientific Coordinator of Brazil’s Special Commission on Political Deaths and Disappearances, calculates that in the last two years he has travelled roughly 44,000 kilometers in order to collect blood samples from family members of people who went missing during the 1964-1985 military dictatorship.

Dr Ferreira is the scientific coordinator of the Perus Working Group (PWG) which was established three years ago to identify bodies that were interred in a clandestine mass grave in the Dom Bosco Cemetery in Perus, Sao Paulo….