Monthly Archives: March 2019

Daily World News Digest, 21 March 2019

ICMP testimony at trial for war crimes in Bosnia

The Associated Press has published a report on the UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (MICT) trial of Radovan Karadzic. On Wednesday, the MICT upheld the conviction of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic for genocide and war crimes, and extended his sentence to life in prison. AP interviewed ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger on ICMP’s expert testimony at the trial, explaining its work to assist in identifying thousands of victims through a DNA-led identification process. Please watch the interview from minute 5:00 to 6:00.

Cambodia: land activist disappearance

Human Rights Watch has called on the authorities in Cambodia to reveal the whereabouts of a land activist, Sum Moeun, who was arrested by soldiers in Preah Vihear province in the north of the country on 20 January, 2019. Relatives of Sum Moeun said they received information that soldiers allegedly hit and…

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…

Daily World News Digest, 20 March 2019

US state initiative to address issue of missing indigenous people

West Dakota TV News reports on a legislative initiative to address the issue of missing persons in the US State of North Dakota. A bill before the State congress would create a North Dakota missing persons database. One Democrat representative highlighted the need for more data, particularly on missing and murdered indigenous people, noting that “the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous people has left many native communities on high alert.”

Libya: two bodies of Murzuk mass grave identified

Two of the 17 bodies found in the outskirts of the city of Murzuk in southwest of Libya last Monday have been identified by their families, a Murzuk Municipality official confirmed, according to the Libya Observer.

Witness recalls digging mass graves for Srebrenica victims

A witness at the trial of eight Serb ex-policemen accused of taking part in the Srebrenica Genocide…

Daily World News Digest, 19 March 2019

Rwanda: mass burial of genocide victims

Remains of more than 62,000 victims of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide recovered from areas around Kabuga in Rwanda’s Eastern Province last year, will be laid to rest later this month at Nyanza Genocide Memorial, The New Times from Rwanda reports.

Egypt urged to determine missing politician’s whereabouts

Human Rights Watch has urged the Egyptian authorities to “exert serious efforts to find and reveal the whereabouts of Mostafa al-Nagar”, a former parliament member who has been missing for nearly five months. HRW says that although the government has denied any role in arresting al-Nagar, “family members and lawyer claim that authorities have not meaningfully investigated his case.”

Hundreds dead and thousands missing as cyclone hits southeast Africa

With hundreds of people confirmed dead and thousands others missing or displaced after a devastating cyclone hit Mozambique, Zimbabwe and parts of Malawi between 14 and 16 March,…

Daily World News Digest, 18 March 2019

Iraq begins exhuming mass graves in Sinjar region

The Iraqi government, with UN support, has started exhuming a mass grave in the northwestern Sinjar region, Al Jazeera reports. More than 70 mass graves have been discovered in Sinjar since it was liberated from Da’esh in November 2015.

Call for more action to help abducted Yezidi women and girls

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Nadia Murad has renewed her call for action by the Global Coalition against Da’esh to ensure the safe rescue of the estimated 3,000 missing Yezidi women and girls, Forbes Magazine reports in an article that highlights the danger that Da’esh, faced with military defeat, could seek to eliminate Yezidi women and girls, who are victim-witnesses to atrocities.

Amnesty urges UN action as Philippines withdraws from ICC

The withdrawal of the Philippines from the International Criminal Court (ICC) “is a futile attempt to evade international justice…

Daily World News Digest, 15 March 2019

Families of the missing call for accountability at the EU Brussels III Conference

Representatives of organisations working in Syria and in the region gathered in Brussels for the Days of Dialogue sessions to discuss issues affecting the Syrian people. According to a report commissioned by the EU, the priority for 52 per cent of Syrians is finding the more 80,000 people who have gone missing. ICMP Director-General, Kathryne Bomberger, told The National this was “a very real issue” for many Syrian families. “The number is huge,” she said. “The majority of the missing are men, meaning the majority of those left behind are women.”

China cited for arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance

Radio Free Asia reports that “2018 was another year of harsh reprisals against human rights defenders by Chinese authorities” according to the Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) network. In its annual report, the CHRD says “types of retaliation…

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…

Daily World News Digest, 14 March 2019

Syrian women, agents for change

The European Union External Action Service has published a series of interviews with Syrian women who have been thrust into the role of activists as a result of the conflict, including women who are working with the International Commission on Missing Persons to secure truth, justice and reparations following the disappearance of a loved one.

Guatemala urged not to grant amnesty for genocide

Human Rights Watch has urged the Guatemalan Congress to comply with a 12 March 2019 Inter-American Court order to suspend consideration of legislation that would provide amnesty for genocide and other past atrocities. HRW says the proposed legislation would free dozens of military officials convicted of grave abuses and prohibit all future prosecutions of human rights crimes committed during the country’s 36-year internal armed conflict, which ended in 1996.

Iraq: courts improve Da’esh trial procedures

Prosecutions of Da’esh suspects in Iraq are…

Daily World News Digest, 13 March 2019

Arbitrary arrests and extrajudicial killings in Syria

The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria says scores of civilians are being killed in Idlib and western Aleppo, Voice of America reports. The commission says arbitrary arrests, detentions and executions continue in government-controlled areas, and armed groups and terrorist organizations unlawfully detain or kidnap civilians in Idlib and Afrin for expressing political dissent or for ransom.

Families approve burial of nine Srebrenica genocide victims

The mortal remains of at least nine victims of the Srebrenica genocide have been identified, and the families have approved burial on 11 July, the N1 TV station reports, citing the Missing Persons Institute of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It notes that this year’s collective funeral of the Srebrenica massacre victims might be numerically the smallest till now since no new mass graves have been discovered in recent years.

UN: unknown number of missing after DRC massacre


Daily World News Digest, 12 March 2019

Syrian detainees “a priority at Brussels conference”

The EU Observer publishes an article today by Mariam al-Hallak, co-founder of the Caesar Families Association, a civil society group working on the issue of Syrian detainees. The article urges participants at the EU-sponsored conference on Syria being held in Brussels this week to put pressure on the Damascus regime to free detainees, and “to make the detention issue the number one priority on their agenda.”

Anniversary of Thai disappearance

Human Rights Watch has published an article on the 15th anniversary of the disappearance of Thai human rights lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit. Somchai was abducted on 12 March 2004 and later murdered, but his body has never been found. The article argues that investigations have been hampered by the fact that Thailand’s penal code does not recognize enforced disappearance as a criminal offense.

Mass graves in eastern Iraq

KirkukNow reports that since the rise…