Yearly Archives: 2019

ICMP and Kosovo Institutions Enhance Cooperation to Support Missing Persons Process


The Hague, 16 October: A delegation of representatives of Kosovo institutions that work on the issue of missing persons has visited the Headquarters of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in The Hague to discuss measures to enhance the process of accounting for missing persons from the Kosovo conflict.

The meeting resulted in four major outcomes:

  • Kosovo institutions will include the ICMP’s Site Locator on relevant institutions’ websites in order to increase the provision of information on locations of clandestine gravesites anonymously, or signed;
  • The delegation positively assessed the benefits of using ICMP’s cloud-based, Integrated Database Management System (iDMS) which collects, stores, protects and shares data on missing persons securely. The delegation agreed to bring a decision on signing an End User License Agreement in the forthcoming period;
  • The delegation embraced measures for ensuring greater domestic ownership of the process to enhance the sustainability of DNA-based identifications;
  • The delegation…

Swedish Students Visit ICMP

Sarajevo, 8 October: A group of high school students and teachers from Hulebäcksgymnasiet in Mölnlycke, Sweden, visited the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) program in Bosnia and Herzegovina today to learn about ICMP’s work and about the missing persons issue in the Western Balkans.

During their visit, the students learned about ICMP’s cross-cutting programs to support the development of networks of civil society organizations that advocate for truth, justice and the rights of family members of missing persons. They were also briefed on ICMP’s support for international and domestic legislative initiatives to account for the missing, based on democratic processes and the rule of law.

The students visited Tuzla, where the Podrinje Identification Project (PIP), a facility specifically created to assist in the identification of persons missing from the 1995 Srebrenica Genocide, is located. ICMP Senior Forensic Anthropologist Dragana Vucetic explained the meticulous process of identifying victims of the genocide….

USAID Continues to Support ICMP to Assist BiH in Accounting for Remaining Missing Persons

Sarajevo 7 October 2019: The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded additional funding to its existing grant to the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in the amount of 89,000 USD to support ICMP’s continued assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina to account for those who are still missing from the conflict of the 1990s.

Matthew Holliday, the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program, thanked USAID for its support. He said the BIH authorities have been able to account for almost 23,000 of the approximately 30,000 people who were missing at the end of the conflict, but stressed that at least 7,000 families do not yet know the fate of their loved ones.

“The additional funding provided by USAID will enable ICMP to maintain its assistance to the BiH authorities to continue to search for and identify those still missing from the conflict,” Holliday said.

Nancy J. Eslick, USAID Mission…

Serbia: New ICMP Initiative To Locate Clandestine Graves Launched

Sarajevo, 6 December 2017: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), in cooperation with the Government Commission on Missing Persons of the Republic of Serbia, has launched the “Site Locator” on-line application in Serbia to assist in locating clandestine gravesites.

The Site Locator is a global application, but is initially being launched in the countries of the Western Balkans to assist in locating the remaining 12,000 persons missing from the conflicts in former Yugoslavia.  While more than 70 percent of the 40,000 who were missing in the region at the end of these conflicts have been accounted for, it is essential that every effort continues to be made to resolve remaining cases. The Site Locator is easy to use and can be accessed at ICMP’s Online Inquiry Center. Information can be provided anonymously, or may include contact details.

At a press conference today, the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program,…

ICMP Enhances Cooperation With Families of the Missing in Croatia

Zagreb, 17 September 2019: Today in Zagreb, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) organized, with the participation of representatives of the Directorate for Detained and Missing of the Ministry of Croatian Veterans, an info-sharing meeting in Zagreb with 30 representatives of missing persons family associations from the Republic of Croatia.

This was the second in a series of meetings with families of the missing, organized to share information about the missing persons process on the territory of the former Yugoslavia. The first meeting was held with families from Bosnia and Herzegovina in January 2019.

The meetings are part of a two-year project supported by the Government of the United Kingdom and being implemented by ICMP, to renew the effort to account for 12,000 people who are still missing throughout the region. Countries in the region have formally undertaken to work together as the regional Missing Persons Group, maintaining a process…

International Day of the Disappeared – Families of the Missing Deserve Concrete Action

Sarajevo, 30 August: Today, International Day of the Disappeared, families of the missing all around the world are calling for action to account for those who have disappeared as a consequence of conflict, natural disasters, crime, irregular migration and other causes.

In Sarajevo this morning, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in cooperation with the BIH Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees, installed a temporary artwork representing missing persons in front of the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina to highlight the issue and to call for the implementation of effective strategies to address it.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, more than 70 percent of those who were missing at the end of the conflict have been accounted for, the highest rate of missing persons case resolution in any post-conflict society anywhere in the world – but many people are still missing.

“The families of at least 7,000 missing persons continue to…

Press Release: A Moral and Legal Challenge

The Hague, 30 August 2019: As countries all over the world struggle to address the issue of large numbers of missing persons – from conflict, natural disasters, irregular migration and other causes – it is important to remember that an international legal framework has been set in place that lays out the obligations of governments to take effective action, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger wrote in an opinion piece published today to mark International Day of the Disappeared.

Ms Bomberger stressed that social and scientific strategies have been developed that make it possible to account for much higher numbers of missing persons than would have been imagined even 20 years ago.  In the Western Balkans, for example, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has spearheaded an effort that has made it possible to account for well over 70 percent of the 40,000 people who went missing in the conflicts of…

A Moral and Legal Challenge

By Kathryne Bomberger,

In the course of today, in every part of the world, people will disappear.

Syria, Libya, Burundi, and Sudan are in the midst of unrest where enforced disappearance has become a politico-military tactic. Countries such as Iraq, Sri Lanka, and – even after the passage of nearly half a century – Vietnam are trying to address a huge and painful legacy of missing persons from past conflicts.

Given that the majority of those who go missing in conflict are men, multiple social obstacles and risks accrue to women survivors, who may be rendered more vulnerable to abusive behavior, including sexual exploitation.

The issue of missing and disappeared persons has intensified in the course of the last two decades. Climate change and environmental degradation have led to natural disasters and mass migration. Around 300,000 perished in the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, many of them buried in mass graves without any identification….

ICMP Supports Missing Persons Dialogue in Colombia

Bogotá, 26 August 2019: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) will participate in the 2nd “Meeting for the Truth”, organized over the next three days in Pasto, in southern Colombia, by the Truth Commission and the Search Unit of Persons Listed as Disappeared.

This follows three preparatory events organized by the Truth Commission and the Search Unit of Persons Listed as Disappeared with the Support of ICMP, between 10 and 14 August in Villavicencio, Barrancabermeja and Medellín.

ICMP’s Colombia Program, which is funded by the European Union, was launched at the beginning of this year. It is actively engaged in helping stakeholders to sustain an effective long-term strategy to account for more than 85,000 persons who are missing as a result of the conflict. ICMP’s mandate under the 2016 Peace Agreement is to support the technical capacity of the Search Unit for Missing Persons and to strengthen the capacity of…

Commemorating the Fifth Anniversary Of the Massacre in Kocho Village, Iraq

Erbil, 15 August 2019: Today is the fifth anniversary of the occupation of Kocho village in the Sinjar region of northern Iraq, when Yezidis were massacred, and large numbers of women and children were abducted and enslaved. The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is helping partners in Iraq to to locate, recover and identify victims of the Da’esh massacre, ensuring that evidence is documented in a manner that it is admissible in an international court.

ICMP is working with the Government of Iraq, through Mr Mohammed Tahir Al-Tamimi, Head of the Operations Room for Coordination of Iraqi Authorities’ Efforts in Liberated Areas, assisting the Iraqi National Team – the Mass Graves Directorate of the Martyrs’ Foundation, the Ministry of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs, and the Medico-Legal Directorate in Baghdad. ICMP also maintains an agreement with the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh (UNITAD), to…