Monthly Archives: March 2019

Accounting for the Missing Is a Key Element in Post-War Justice

The Hague, 20 March 2019: The Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), Kathryne Bomberger, issued a statement following the verdict of the UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (MICT) in the case of Radovan Karadzic.

“A chapter in the history of conflict of the Western Balkans closed today, when the MICT upheld the conviction of Radovan Karadzic for genocide and war crimes and extended the sentence to life in prison.

“As those who were responsible for crimes are brought to justice, it is important that their victims are not forgotten. In the former Yugoslavia, 40,000 people went missing as a result of the conflicts. More than two thirds of these people have been accounted for as a result of the action of regional governments, working together with ICMP. However, 12,000 people are still missing, including one thousand of the 8,000 victims of the Srebrenica Genocide.

“ICMP provided evidence…

EU Brussels Conference on Syria Discusses Missing Persons Issue

The Hague, 14 March 2019: More than half of those surveyed during an EU Consultation on Syria said the issue of missing persons, including victims of enforced disappearance and detainees, is the most important topic in the field of justice and cohesion, Kathryne Bomberger, Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), told participants at a major conference on Syria convened by the European Union in Brussels this week.

Ms Bomberger was speaking on a panel on Justice and Social Cohesion at the European Parliament. She noted that the Consultation undertaken by the EU ahead of the conference, had concluded, among other things, that communities in Syria must be made aware of their legal rights and the legal tools they can use to defend their interests, and that accountability must be kept on the political agenda.

“There are upwards of 80,000 persons missing in the Syrian context, including those missing…

Accounting for the Missing Is an Investment in Peace

Sarajevo, 7 March 2019: In an interview published today by, a news portal in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kathryne Bomberger, the Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), stressed that “accounting for the missing is an investment in peace”, and she highlighted the paramount importance of regional cooperation.

“Bringing governments together to address common challenges, and working with them to arrive at solutions together is important for trust building,” Ms Bomberger said. She said that while more than 70 percent of the missing have been accounted for, there are still 7,000 missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina and 12,000 missing across the region, so “the effort to account for the missing must be sustained”.

Ms Bomberger noted that in London in June 2018, Western Balkan heads of government signed a Joint Declaration renewing their commitment to cooperate in the effort to account for those who are still missing. She described…

Regional Cooperation Is the Key To Finding the Wartime Missing

The Hague, 6 March 2018: Regional cooperation and a sustained commitment by governments to move forward with their respective missing persons strategies are key to finding those who are still missing from the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, Kathryne Bomberger, the Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), wrote in an article that appeared in Balkan Insight today.

Ms Bomberger stressed that while 28,000 people have been accounted for, 12,000 are still missing, and she commended the progress that is being made to develop and implement multilateral cooperation, highlighting as “a significant step” the Joint Declaration signed in London in June 2018 by heads of government from the region, renewing their commitment to cooperate in the effort to account for those who are still missing.

The Joint Declaration was followed by the signing of a Framework Plan last November, at ICMP headquarters in The Hague, by representatives of Bosnia…

ICMP Welcomes Two New Commissioners


The Hague 5 March 2019: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is pleased to announce that former Foreign Minister of El Salvador María Eugenia Brizuela de Ávila and former Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Bert Koenders will join ICMP’s Board of Commissioners.

ICMP Commissioners are actively involved in addressing the global challenge of missing persons and represent ICMP at the highest diplomatic and governmental levels worldwide.

“The Board of Commissioners is delighted to welcome two such distinguished public figures to its ranks,” ICMP Chair Thomas Miller said today. “As ICMP extends its support to countries around the world, it is important that the Board has the capacity to engage effectively at a global level, and I believe that our capacity to do this will be enhanced by the involvement of our…

ICMP Laboratory in The Hague Utilizes New Technology for Human Identification

The Hague, 5 March 2019: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has made the first human identifications using technology now being developed at ICMP’s laboratory in The Hague. The matches were made possible by the hugely increased analytical power of next-generation DNA technologies, known as Massively Parallel Sequencing (MPS).

“The use of MPS, which ICMP is developing in cooperation with academic colleagues and the international technology company QIAGEN, can achieve results in highly challenging cases, where current technologies have failed,” said Dr. Thomas J. Parsons, ICMP Director of Science & Technology, adding that MPS also enables identifications to be made between more distant relatives.

“We are excited to see ICMP successfully identify individuals once counted as lost, using state-of-the-art technologies developed through our longstanding collaboration. This collaboration has resulted in a custom designed next-generation sequencing panel perfectly suited for ICMP’s missing persons applications, and is based on QIAGEN’s GeneReader NGS…