Yearly Archives: 2021

Evidence related to missing persons a focus in second ICMP course for first responders in Northeast Syria

The Hague, 25 March 2021 – The importance of collecting and preserving evidence related to missing persons was a key topic in a second training course for first responders who locate persons missing from the ongoing conflict in Syria, held this week by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

The 22 first responders based in northeast Syria enhanced their capacity to collect forensic evidence and safeguard mass graves and sites of forensic interest during the online four-day course, which ended today. The course covered procedures for DNA sampling of remains, collecting and preserving evidence from mass graves and other measures to support future accountability mechanisms. The course also covered methods to collect, manage and secure data related to the site contents.

Estimates cited by the United Nations in 2021 indicate that over 100,000 persons are missing as a result of the current conflict in Syria. In addition, the country has…

Iraqi civil society organizations expand knowledge about missing person reporting process in ICMP course

Baghdad, 18 March 2021 – Thirty representatives from as many Iraqi civil society organizations strengthened their ability to assist families of missing persons in the missing persons process, including helping them to report disappearances and apply for compensation, during a two-week International Commission on Missing Person course that ended today.

Sessions during the course, held online due to the Covid-19 pandemic, detailed what families of missing persons in Iraq need to do to report their missing relatives, and what they need to do to apply for compensation under the Iraqi law on Compensating People Affected by War Operations, Military Mistakes, and Terrorist Actions (Law No. 20). The participants represent organizations with extensive experience of assisting families of missing persons located across Iraq.

The Director General of Iraq’s Directorate on Victims of Military Operations, Military Mistakes and Terrorist Operations, Tariq Jehan, and Nawsherwan Sharif Saeed, General Director of Administration and Finance of…

Prosecutor in Mexican State of Nuevo Leon establishes DNA laboratory, unit for missing persons identification with equipment donated by ICMP

A forensic scientist at Office of the Prosecutor in the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon prepares a sample for DNA extraction and analysis using laboratory equipment donated by ICMP in March 2021. Photo: CADHAC

Monterrey, Mexico, 16 March 2021 – The Office of the Prosecutor in the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon (FGJNL) this month received a donation of laboratory equipment and software that strengthens its capacities to make DNA-based identifications of challenging missing persons cases. The donation by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is part of a USAID-funded project that helps the state enhance its capacity to account for missing persons.

Scientists at the Nuevo Leon state prosecutor’s laboratory will use the equipment to establish a dedicated missing persons DNA workflow that includes a new laboratory that will use advanced methods to extract DNA from challenging post mortem samples related to missing persons cases. A new unit will be established to analyse forensic data and to support the matching of victims’ DNA with that shared by the families of the missing.

“State- of-the-art DNA identification of the missing is a highly specialized…

Ten years on, over 100,000 persons are missing from the Syrian conflict and numbers continue to rise – ICMP calls for coordinated plan to find the missing and address this key human rights issue

An image from an advocacy film created by Syria Bright Future that is part of the exhibit. Photo: Syria Bright Future

The Hague, 15 March 2021 – A staggering number of persons are missing due to the Syrian conflict, and more people are disappearing as the conflict continues unabated. Ten years after the war erupted, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) reiterated that immediate action is needed to find missing persons and secure the human rights of families of the missing.

With the families of Syria’s missing persons scattered around the globe – many live as refugees in neighbouring countries, in Europe or elsewhere, while others remain in war-torn Syria – the issue of Syria’s missing is a global challenge that demands international attention and action.

2021 UN report estimates that 100,000 persons are missing due to the conflict. In addition, the country has a legacy of missing and disappeared persons cases linked to human rights abuses and other causes that occurred prior to the decade-long conflict, and Syrians who have…

[ALBANIAN LANGUAGE] Raporti i ri i ICMP paraqet rekomandime për të përmirësuar përpjekjet e Shqipërisë për të dhënë llogari për personat e zhdukur nga periudha komuniste

Tiranë, 2 Mars 2021 – Në një raport të nisur në një ngjarje online sot, Komisioni Ndërkombëtar për Personat e Zhdukur (ICMP) paraqet kërkime, analiza dhe rekomandime për të përmirësuar përpjekjet e Shqipërisë për të llogaritur personat e zhdukur.

Shqipëria, personat e zhdukur nga periudha komuniste – një vlerësim i nevojave bazohet në kërkimin dhe analizën e legjislacionit që ka të bëjë me dhe institucionet e përfshira në çështjen e personave të zhdukur nga periudha komuniste në Shqipëri, kryer nga ekspertët e ICMP nga 2018 në 2020 me mbështetjen financiare të Bashkimit Evropian (BE).

“Rekomandimet e raportit kërkojnë të sigurojnë që rastet e personave të zhdukur hetohen në mënyrë efektive dhe të drejtat e familjeve të të zhdukurve për të vërtetën, drejtësinë dhe dëmshpërblimet janë mbështetur,” tha Matthew Holliday, Shefi i Programit të Ballkanit Perëndimor të ICMP, gjatë ngjarjes në internet ku morën pjesë përfaqësues të autoriteteve shqiptare dhe komunitetit…

New ICMP Report presents recommendations to improve Albania’s efforts to account for persons missing from the communist era

Tirana, 2 March 2021 – In a report launched at an online event today, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) presents research, analysis and recommendations to improve Albania’s efforts to account for missing persons.

Albania, Missing Persons from the Communist Era – A Needs Assessment  is based on research and analysis of legislation pertaining to, and institutions involved in, the issue of persons missing from the communist era in Albania, conducted by ICMP experts from 2018 to 2020 with the financial support of the European Union (EU).

“The report’s recommendations seek to ensure missing persons cases are investigated effectively, and the rights of families of the missing to truth, justice and reparations are upheld,” Matthew Holliday, the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program, said during the online launch event, which was attended by representatives of Albanian authorities and the international community.

“The Albanian authorities have a legal obligation to account…

ICMP Facilitates Launch of Syrian-Led Policy Coordination Group for Missing Persons

Photo: Families for Freedom

The Hague, 25 February 2021 – A Syrian Policy Coordination Group (PCG) that will work to develop recommendations for a policy framework for a future missing person process in Syria, recently established with the support of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), held an introductory meeting today.

The group’s 25 Syrian members include families of the missing, legal experts, human rights defenders, members of the Syrian Constitutional Committee, and civil society representatives residing inside and outside Syria.  International experts offer support as advisors and subject matter experts. ICMP acts as both the secretariat and facilitator of the group’s work.  The goal of the PCG is to develop a strategic policy framework to influence the development of domestic, regional and international mechanisms to find the many Syrians who are missing, both within and outside of Syria.

In today’s online meeting, group members discussed previous policy discussions facilitated by ICMP, which are outlined…

EU and ICMP help Colombian civil society organizations strengthen their participation in the missing persons process

Profiles of the Missing Colombia: Reflections from the Families of the Missing Persons on the Progress of the Implementation of the Peace Agreement

Bogota, Colombia 23 February, 2021 – Colombian civil society organizations (CSOs) involved in the country’s efforts to find those who remain missing following the 50-year conflict have grown stronger, thanks to International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) grants funded by the European Union (EU).

Twenty-two organizations were awarded grants to intensify their efforts to involve families of the missing in the country’s efforts to account for missing persons. The organizations implemented 14 projects that engaged families in the missing persons process, including by supporting memorialization events and by collecting information and sharing it with the Search Unit for Persons Listed as Disappeared (UBPD), an EU-funded institution that is a central actor in Colombia’s missing person process.

The ICMP grants, worth a total of more than USD 400,000, also covered eight Data Partnership Agreements. Under such agreements, CSOs collect data from families of the missing to contribute to a central record of…

Progress Made by Bosnia and Herzegovina in Finding the “Bugojno 21” Who Went Missing in 1993

Photo: Illustration

By Saša Kulukčija

Sarajevo, 19 February 2021 –The mortal remains of four members of a high-profile group known as the “Bugojno 21” who disappeared 1993 in the Bugojno area during the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina have been located by the BIH authorities with support from the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). With two of the group identified earlier, 15 remain missing.

In a sign of progress in the case, BIH’s authorities this week identified the four individuals as Zoran Galić, Dragan Miličević, Ante Markulj and Franjo Jezidžić. The identification by authorities was based on analysis and matching of DNA profiles conducted late last year at ICMP’s lab in The Hague. ICMP’s technical assistance was made possible with the financial support of the European Union.

Dijana Strujić, President of Bugojno Municipality Association of Families of Killed and Missing Soldiers of the Homeland War, said the case “showed families that they should…

ICMP to Donate Software, Computers, Servers to Support Establishment of Iraqi Central Record of Missing Persons

Fawaz Abdulabbas, ICMP Deputy Head in Iraq, during a tour of the MLD facilities held as part of a ceremony to sign donation agreements for software, computers and servers for Iraq to use to account for missing persons.

Baghdad, 18 February 2021 – Key Iraqi government entities involved in the process finding the large number of missing persons from the regime of Saddam Hussein to more recent Da’esh crimes will use a specialized data management system developed by the International Commission for Missing Persons (ICMP).

ICMP will donate its Identification Data Management System (iDMS), along with computers and servers, to help Iraq collect, process and share data, which is key to finding the over 250,000 to 1 million persons estimated to be missing by Iraqi authorities.

The donation will enable the government to take steps toward establishing a central record that includes information on all persons missing in Iraq and their families. Such records are needed in any sustainable process to find all missing persons regardless of their ethnic or religious background, their roles in conflicts or their political affiliation.

The donation will enable Iraq the Ministry of Health’s Medico-Legal…