Yearly Archives: 2023

Luxembourg Continues Support ICMP To Address the Global Challenge of Missing and Disappeared Persons

The Hague, 12 September 2023 – The government of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg has made a new financial donation to support efforts by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) to help account for missing and disappeared persons. The donation will be used to fund vital operations at ICMP’s headquarters in The Hague and around the world.

“It is thanks to the goodwill and targeted support of long-standing partners such as Luxembourg that ICMP has been able to develop its advanced technical assistance capabilities and implement a growing number of country programs around the world,” ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said today. “We are grateful for the indispensable and longstanding support provided by Luxembourg, one of the five original signatory countries to the Agreement establishing ICMP as a treaty-based international organization.”

“As an International focal point on the issue of missing persons, ICMP works from its Headquarters in The Hague across a…

ICMP & Ukrainian Authorities Sign Protocol on Data Collection and Cooperation

Kyiv, 31 August 2023: On the International Day of the Disappeared, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the National Police of Ukraine (NPU) signed a Protocol that will enable the Main Investigative Department of the NPU to use the Integrated Data Management System (iDMS) developed by ICMP to process data to locate, reunify and identify people who have gone missing as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The signing of the Protocol marks the beginning of ICMP’s campaign to collect data from Ukrainian families residing outside of the country who have missing relatives from the ongoing war.

Under the Protocol, signed by ICMP Europe Director and Head of the Ukraine Program Matthew Holliday and Deputy Chairman of the National Police of Ukraine Maksym Tsutskiridze, the NPU will be able to access DNA profiles provided by relatives of missing persons and stored in the iDMS, as…

ICMP Marks International Day of the Disappeared

The Hague, 30 August 2023: – Throughout the world, authorities are bound by laws and agreements, such as the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, to fulfill obligations towards families of the missing, including families of missing refugees and migrants. Marking the International Day of the Disappeared, International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) Director-General Kathryne Bomberger emphasized the responsibility of states: “Governments must secure the rights of victims and their families, regardless of their nationality, religion, or gender, or the circumstances of their disappearance.” They can fulfil this commitment “through coordinated action, including pooling resources, and through a strategy based on upholding the rule of law.” Failure by governments to account for missing persons is “a fundamental and corrosive violation of domestic and international law,” Ms Bomberger added.

ICMP Chairperson Knut Vollebaek noted today that “in the last 25 years the capacity to locate and…

Book Describes Strategy to Secure Truth and Justice For Families of the Missing in Ukraine

Kyiv, 29 August 2023: Ukraine can account for tens of thousands of missing people if it takes steps to fill gaps in its institutional framework and encourages closer cooperation between families of the missing and the government agencies that have responsibility for addressing this issue, the Head of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) Ukraine Program, Matthew Holliday, told reporters in Kyiv today.

Holliday was speaking at a press conference to present A Country of Missing People: Securing Justice and Truth for Families of the Missing in Ukraine, published by ICMP to mark International Day of the Disappeared. The book provides an overview of the missing persons issue in Ukraine. It reviews the steps that Ukraine is already taking to address this issue, and shows in detail how an effective missing persons strategy can secure truth and justice for large numbers of families of the missing.

Holliday stressed the…

ICMP Working Closely with Authorities in Iraq to Account for Victims of 2014 Massacre

Baghdad, 18 August 2023: On 15 August 2014, in the village of Kojo in the Sinjar region of Iraq, Yazidi residents were massacred by Da’esh; women and children were abducted. Many of the victims are still missing.

Speaking on the anniversary of this crime, the Director General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), Kathryne Bomberger, described the Kojo massacre as “a stark and painful reminder” of the absolute necessity of pursuing justice, truth, and accountability, and she said ICMP would continue to help the Iraqi authorities to locate, recover, and identify victims.

“Nine years ago, the Yazidi community faced a devastating onslaught fueled by hatred,” Bomberger said. “Today, ICMP is working closely with the Iraqi National Team – the Martyrs’ Foundation Department of Mass Graves Affairs and Protection, the Medico-Legal Directorate of the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs – to uphold the right…

ICMP Supports Iraq Data Collection in Duhok to Identify Victims of Atrocities

Duhok, 4 August 2023 — The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) provided support to the Directorate for Protection and Affairs of Mass Graves (MGD) of the Martyrs’ Foundation and  the Medico-Legal Directorate (MLD) of the Ministry of Health during a family reference sample collection campaign carried out from 22 to 31 July in Shariyah, Duhok, in coordination with the Commission for Investigation and Gathering Evidence (CIGE) of the Kurdistan Regional Government.

The genetic references samples collected from Yezidi families of the missing will be matched to genetic profiles obtained from victims recovered from mass and clandestine graves.

“This scientifically proven method of identification is a central element in the broader process of upholding the rights of families in Iraq to truth, justice, and reparations,” said Alexander Hug, the Head of ICMP’s Iraq Program.

The Iraqi Government estimates that between 250,000 and more than one million people are missing in the country…

The Rights of Yazidi Survivors of Atrocities to Justice Must be Secured

Baghdad, 3 August 2023 Speaking on the ninth anniversary of crimes committed by Da’esh against the Yazidi population in Iraq, the Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), Kathryne Bomberger, said ICMP will continue working with the families of victims and with the responsible authorities in Iraq to secure truth, justice, and reparations for survivors.

On 3 August 2014, Da’esh invaded Sinjar, killing thousands of people and abducting thousands more of the Yazidi community members, many of those who were abducted are still missing.

“The impact of these heinous crimes continues to reverberate, leaving countless families searching for answers about the fate of their missing loved ones,” Ms. Bomberger said. “On this somber anniversary, we remember the victims of the genocide, and we salute the courage and resilience of the Yazidi families who are searching for their loved ones. ICMP is committed to supporting the effort to account…

VAST and ICMP Enhance Partnership to Improve Vietnam’s Capability for Identification of Remains from War  

Hanoi, Vietnam 26 July 2023 – During the week, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) have hosted a series of events aimed at enhancing efforts to account for the large number of missing persons and unidentified human remains from the Vietnam-American War. The project is funded and generously supported by US Agency for International Development.

Senior representatives from ICMP participating in this week’s events include Ms. Thảo Griffiths, Board Member of the ICMP, Ms. Kathryne Bomberger, Director-General of ICMP, Dr. Thomas Parsons, Member of the ICMP Expert Panel and an expert on forensic genetics, and two senior ICMP scientists from the ICMP DNA Laboratory in The Hague, specializing in Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies.

On Monday, 24 July, during a workshop organized by VAST, together with representatives from the Center for DNA Identification (CDI), the Institute for Biotechnology (IBT), the Department…

ICMP Expreses Condolences on the Death of Mujo Hadziomerovic

The Hague, 15 July 2023: On behalf of the Board of Commissioners and the staff of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), Director-General Kathryne Bomberger has expressed her condolences to the Missing Persons Institute of Bosnia and Herzegovina (MPI) following the death of the member of Board of Directors (BoD), Mujo Hadziomerovic today.

“Mr. Hadziomerovic, was committed to the pursuit of truth and justice for all families of the missing, regardless of their ethnic, religious and national background, or any other factor and was one of the key partners in the process of accounting for the missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina”, Ms Bomberger said today.

Mujo Hadžiomerović was a MPI BoD member since 2021.


Srebrenica: The Unremitting Necessity of Justice

Srebrenica, 11 July 2023: The remains of 30 victims of the Srebrenica Genocide were buried at the Potocari Memorial Cemetery near Srebrenica today.

More than 7,000 victims of the Genocide have been identified as a result of the DNA-led identification process pioneered by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). Each year, the remains of more victims are buried. The process of identification and reassembly of skeletal remains can involve recovery from multiple clandestine gravesites and may continue for a period of years.

Attending today’s ceremony at Potocari, together with staff from ICMP’s Western Balkans Program, Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said the thousands of white headstones that line the hillside opposite the factory where men and boys were separated from their families in July 1995, testify to the “unremitting necessity of justice.”

Ms Bomberger stressed that “each of the people buried in this cemetery has been named,” and the facts of the Genocide…