ICMP and INTERPOL Convene Expert Meeting On DNA Analysis and Missing Migrants

The Hague 21 November 2019 – The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) have jointly organized the second meeting of DNA experts on DNA analysis of missing migrants and unidentified human remains. The meeting was held today at ICMP Headquarters in The Hague, The Netherlands.

ICMP Director of Policy and Cooperation Andreas Kleiser and INTERPOL DNA Unit Coordinator Susan Hitchin opened the meeting with an overview of key issues related to identifying missing migrants. ICMP Director of Science and Technology Thomas Parsons and ICMP Missing Migrants Program Manager Alessandra La Vaccara presented ICMP’s work in this field.

Tina Hu from INTERPOL’s Vulnerable Communities sub-directorate, and INTERPOL DNA Consultant Andrea Fischer spoke about Project Flyway and its DNA component. Project Flyway was launched in 2017 to combat migrant smuggling, human trafficking, and crimes against children, focusing on North Africa. The meeting examined how experts participating…

Czech Republic Continues Its Support for ICMP

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The Hague, 21 November: The Czech Republic’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, H.E. Ms. Kateřina Sequensová, visited the Headquarters of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in The Hague this week.

“The Czech Republic has been supporting ICMP for many years, and we are committed to continuing this relationship,” Ambassador Sequensová said after presenting ICMP with a grant. The Czech Republic, which has Observer status in ICMP’s Conference of State Parties, has provided ICMP with more than 150,000 Euros since 2008.

ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger thanked Ambassador Sequensová and said that Czech support has enabled ICMP to work effectively with governments in different parts of the world to address the challenge of missing persons.

“Large numbers of missing from conflict or major disasters make it very hard for countries to recover,” Director-General Bomberger said. “If authorities are unable or unwilling to account for the missing, the public credibility of…

ICMP Donates DNA Lab Equipment To University of Sarajevo Faculty of Medicine

Sarajevo, 7 November 2019: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has presented Sarajevo University’s Faculty of Medicine with a comprehensive range of laboratory equipment which will improve capacity at the University’s Institute for Legal Medicine.

At the Faculty today, the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program, Matthew Holliday, presented the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Prof. Dr. Semra Čavaljuga, with the accompanying documentation for the equipment, which includes a DNA sequencer, a sequencing computer, a mini centrifuge and software needed to make the equipment operational.

“One of the most important tasks of the Faculty of Medicine is to improve all our capacities. This equipment is of great importance as it is going to be used in our teaching process to gain new modern knowledge and broaden horizons. Students will have an opportunity to be acquainted with the innovative technologies in the field of genetics”, Professor Čavaljuga said.

Matthew Holliday stressed…

ICMP Submits First Two DNA Match Reports to the Albanian Authorities

31 October 2019: Today in Tirana the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) announced that it has submitted the first two DNA Match Reports to the Albanian authorities. These Match Reports will enable the authorities to make conclusive, scientific identifications of two individuals who went missing during the period of Communist rule.

Speaking at a press conference in the EU House in Tirana, Matthew Holliday, the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program said the Match Reports submitted to the Albanian authorities “demonstrate that missing persons can be accurately identified even decades after the disappearances.” He added that “the first results of ICMP’s EU-funded project mark a crucial turning point in addressing the issue of persons missing from the Communist era in Albania.”

Albania’s Deputy Interior Minister, Rovena Voda, stressed that locating and identifying those who went missing “is a legal obligation of our country, in accordance with the constitution, laws and…

Afghanistan Accedes to ICMP Treaty

The Hague, 30 October 2019: The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has acceded to the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). This makes Afghanistan the eighth country to become an ICMP State Party in addition to Chile, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Serbia, Sweden, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Belgium and El Salvador as Signatory States.

Since 1980, Afghanistan has experienced almost continuous conflict, which has resulted in large numbers of missing persons. ICMP stands ready to help the authorities in Afghanistan to develop an effective, impartial and long-term missing persons process.

After today’s ceremony, at which the Ambassador of Afghanistan to the Netherlands H.E. dr. Mohammad Homayoon Azizi formally deposited the instrument of accession at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands as depository of the Agreement, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said that by becoming a State Party, Afghanistan has affirmed its commitment to…

Swedish Parliamentarians and Trade Union Leaders Visit ICMP Western Balkans Program

Sarajevo, 29 October 2019: Parliamentarians and trade unionists from Sweden visited the facilities of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, today to learn more about ICMP’s work and about the missing persons issue in the Western Balkans.

The visitors were briefed on ICMP’s cross-cutting programs that help civil society networks advocate for truth, justice and the rights of families of the missing, and support legislative and institutional initiatives to sustain an impartial and effective missing persons process.

The group visited the Podrinje Identification Project (PIP), which was created to assist in the identification of persons missing from the the fall of the Srebrenica and Zepa UN Safe Areas in July 1995. With ICMP assistance, 7,000 of the 8,000 victims of the Srebrenica Genocide have been accounted for so far.

ICMP Senior Forensic Anthropologist Dragana Vucetic explained the methodical process through which human remains exhumed from mass graves…

Iraqi Minister for Foreign Affairs Visits ICMP Headquarters in The Hague

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The Hague, 28 October 2019: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) stands ready to enhance its support for Iraq’s efforts to address the country’s huge issue of missing persons in an effective and impartial way, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said today.

Ms Bomberger was speaking during a visit by Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohamed Ali Alhakim to ICMP’s Headquarters in The Hague. Foreign Minister Alhakim was accompanied by Iraq’s Ambassador to the Netherlands Hisham Al-Alawi and senior officials.

Director-General Bomberger said she hoped it will be possible to finalize and implement a Memorandum of Understanding between ICMP and the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs as soon as possible so that ICMP can step up the support it has already been providing to Iraq for more than a decade.

“ICMP’s goal is to help Iraq establish a sustainable process to find all missing persons, regardless of their ethnic, religious or national origin,’ Ms…

ICMP Assists Iraqi National Team In Successful Data Collection Campaign in Dohuk  

Baghdad, 24 October 2019: The Iraqi National Team with the support of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has completed a Data and Reference Sample Collection campaign in Qadiya Camp for internally displaced persons, in Duhok, northern Iraq 

A large number of people living in the camp belong to the Yezidi community from the Sinjar area of northern Iraq, which was overrun by Da’esh in 2014.  

During the campaign, blood reference samples were collected from relatives of the missing, and new missing person cases were reported. The National Team crossedchecked information on more than 400 missing persons, which may now be used as part of the process of identifying human remains that were exhumed in July and August from mass graves in the village of Kocho in Sinjar.  It is hoped that the…

ICMP Assists Authorities With Reference Sample Collection in Northern Iraq

Baghdad, 19 October 2019: The Mass Graves Directorate (MGD) of the Martyrs’ Foundation, the Medico-Legal Directorate (MLD) of the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs (MoMAA) of the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq, with the help of the International Commission on Mission Persons (ICMP), have launched a campaign to collect genetic reference samples from families of the missing in Northern Iraq.

The collection of samples, which will take place in the Qadiya IDP camp in Duhok Governorate, began today, and during the campaign, the Iraqi institutions will be supported by staff from ICMP’s Data Coordination and Civil Society Initiatives department.

Reference sample collection is an essential component in the current process of identifying human remains that have been exhumed from mass graves in the village of Kocho, in Sinjar. This exercise will also serve as a model for future excavations.

The campaign was launched at a seminar…

[ALBANIAN LANGUAGE] ICMP dhe Institucionet e Kosovës Zhvillojnë më tej bashkëpunimin për të mbështetur procesin e personave të zhdukur

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Hagë, 16 tetor: Një delegacion i përfaqësuesve të institucioneve të Kosovës që punojnë për çështjen e personave të zhdukur ka vizituar Selinë e Komisionit Ndërkombëtar për Personat e Zhdukur (ICMP) në Hagë për të diskutuar masat për të përmirësuar procesin e llogaridhënjes të personave të zhdukur nga konflikti i Kosovës.

Takimi rezultoi me katër përfundime kryesore:

  • Institucionet e Kosovës do të përfshijnë Gjurmuesin e Vendvarrimeve të ICMP në faqet e internetit të institucioneve përkatëse për të rritur sigurimin e informacionit për vendndodhjet e varrezave të jashtligjshme në mënyrë anonime, ose të nënshkruar;
  • Delegacioni vlerësoi pozitivisht përfitimet e përdorimit të Sistemit të Menaxhimit të Bazave të Dhënave të Identifikimit (iDMS) bazuar në cloud të ICMP, i cili mbledh, ruan, mbron dhe shkëmben të dhëna për personat e zhdukur në mënyrë të sigurt. Delegacioni ra dakord të merr një vendim për nënshkrimin e një Marrëveshjeje për licencën e përdoruesit fundor në periudhën…