Monthly Archives: April 2024

Missing Persons in Ukraine: Lessons from Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo, 26 April 2024 – A group of family representatives and civil society activists from Ukraine have completed a week-long 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 system to account for tens of thousands of people who are missing as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The study visit included meetings with officials from the BIH Missing Persons Institute, the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees, and the War Crimes Prosecutor’s Office.

“ICMP is committed to helping Ukrainian civil society to build a sustainable process to locate all missing persons and investigate their disappearance and secure the rights of all families to truth, justice, and reparations,” said Matthew Holliday, ICMP Program Director Europe, noting that strategies that have succeeded in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Western Balkans can…

Immediate Action Must be Taken to Protect Mass Graves in Gaza

The Hague, 24 April 2024: The UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) and major international media this week reported the discovery of mass graves at the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, central Gaza, and the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

Mass graves contain critical evidence for establishing the truth about events that have taken place. Proper investigations must adhere to rigorous scientific and judicial standards, ensuring that forensic processes – including forensic archaeology and anthropology – are meticulously implemented to recover and document human remains and evidence. In cases where war crimes have been committed, these processes make it possible to bring perpetrators to justice.

Immediate measures must be taken to protect and document locations where mass graves have been reported in Gaza. The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) stands ready to support all efforts to protect and investigate mass graves and reliably identify human remains.

Accounting for the missing is an…

Families of the Missing from former Yugoslavia Urge Regional Governments And the International Community to Maintain Their Support

The Hague, 19 April 2024 – This week at the Headquarters of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in The Hague, associations of families of the missing from the Western Balkans, together with ICMP, organized an extraordinary session of the Forum of the Families (FoF).

Participants reflected on progress that has been made in implementing the Framework Plan agreed in November 2018 by the responsible institutions from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia to boost cooperation and increase effectiveness in accounting for missing persons throughout the region; and they made preparations for future activities, including raising awareness among regional and international stakeholders on the urgent need to maintain efforts to account for the remaining missing persons.

Participants expressed concern that current political dynamics in the Western Balkans are hindering the work of the Missing Persons Group (MPG), which comprises domestic institutions from the region that work on this…

ICMP and Partners in Vietnam Launch ODA Project Improving the Capability of Identification of Human Remains from War

Hanoi, 12 April 2024: The Institute of Biotechnology-Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (IBT-VAST), in coordination with the International Commissions on Missing Persons (ICMP), has launched an ODA project to improve Vietnam’s capacity to identify human remains from war. The two-year project is supported with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

ICMP will help IBT-VAST to develop advanced DNA extraction methods and Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology to extract DNA profiles from highly degraded bone samples in Vietnam. These methods will be supported by data analysis tools, with the goal of establishing an automated system to process a large number of samples. The project is part of the cooperation framework between the Governments of Vietnam and the United States to overcome the consequences of war, as specified in a Memorandum of Intention (MOI) signed by USAID and the Vietnam Agency for Seeking Missing Persons (VNOSMP) in…