Monthly Archives: June 2023

Profiles of the Missing from Ukraine: War Crimes Must be Investigated

The Hague, 20 June 2023 – In the face of a huge surge in the number of missing persons, Ukraine “must develop a more efficient and more humane state strategy on missing persons so that people facing this terrible situation will not be alone,” Nobel Laureate Oleskandra Matviychuk said today at a meeting organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) at its Headquarters in The Hague.

During a public discussion on efforts to establish an effective missing persons process in Ukraine, Ms Matviychuk, who is Head of the Center for Civil Liberties in Kyiv, emphasized the scale of the challenge, with tens of thousands of people reported missing since the Russian invasion in February last year, adding to those already being sought following the initial Russian invasion of 2014.

During the event – “Profiles of the Missing: Voices of Ukrainian Families” – relatives of the missing spoke about their experience…

Another Tragedy: Another Call for Migration Reform

The Hague, 16 June 2023: The sinking of an overcrowded fishing boat on 14 June off the coast of Greece, resulting in multiple deaths and disappearances, will require a major international effort to account for hundreds of missing persons, Kathryne Bomberger, the Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) said today.

ICMP has already offered to assist the Greek authorities in locating and identifying the missing, “but this will be an international effort – a large number of those who were aboard the vessel were Syrian, but there were many other nationalities too. Under international law, governments have interconnected obligations to investigate disappearances and repatriate human remains.”

ICMP has offered to send teams to Athens to collect reference samples from relatives of the missing, which can be compared with DNA profiles extracted from unidentified human remains. This will significantly facilitate efforts to identify victims of the tragedy.

On Friday afternoon,…

Developing an Effective Missing Persons Strategy for Syria

Sarajevo, 12 June: A group of family representatives and civil society activists from Syria completed a weeklong visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH) hosted by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). The visit is part of a program to support the development of an effective strategy to account for the more than 130,000 persons who are missing in the Syrian context, including ongoing cases of disappearances since 2011.

The study visit brought together representatives from different organizations, who had the opportunity to meet with representatives of the BIH Missing Persons Institute, the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees, and the War Crimes Prosecutor’s Office.

“ICMP is committed to helping Syrian civil society to build a sustainable process to locate all missing persons and to investigate their disappearance and secure the rights of all families to truth, justice, and reparations,” ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said, noting that strategies that had succeeded in…

ICMP and associations of families of missing persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina presented the results of the projects in 2022

Sarajevo, 25 May 2023: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and associations of families of missing persons from Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH) presented the results of eight projects completed within the cycle for small grants from 2022, financially supported by the Delegation of European Union to BIH and the Kingdom of Sweden.

“Family associations are the driving force in accounting for the missing and manage to keep this issue in the focus of the public even so many years after the war”, said Samira Krehic, Deputy Head of ICMP Western Balkans Program. “Despite their immeasurable contribution in accounting for more than 75% of the 32.000 persons reported missing after the conflict, most associations still do not have consistent financing and mostly rely on international donors,” Krehic added.

Semina Alekić, chairwoman of the Coordination of the Association of Families of Missing Persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina, said that through the project…

Ukrainian Forensic Experts Conduct Study Visit at ICMP 

The Hague, 2 June 2023: Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has resulted in tens of thousands of missing and disappeared persons and the numbers continue to rise by the day. Circumstances in which people go missing include forcible deportations, summary executions, incommunicado detention, kidnapping, and family separation, including unlawful adoptions and trafficking in human beings.

Experts from laboratories in the Ukrainian ministries of Health and Justice and representatives from the Bokarius Forensic Science Institute and the Lviv Forensics Experts Bureau, today completed a five-day working visit to the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) Headquarters in The Hague; a visit supported by the European Union’s Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (EU FPI). The experts received a series of briefings on the stages of an effective DNA-led process to account for large numbers of missing persons.

In ICMP’s DNA laboratory, the Ukrainian experts were able to see at…