DNA Profiles Generated on Over 10,000 Missing Individuals

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) announced Wednesday it had passed a major milestone in identifying persons missing from the wars in the former Yugoslavia. ICMP has generated DNA profiles from bone samples for over 10,000 individuals, representing about one third of all the war missing across the region.”This is a major achievement, and unique in the history of identification of missing persons and of forensic science,” explained Adnan Rizvić, Deputy Director of ICMP’s Forensic Sciences Department. ” When we started working with DNA – just two years ago – to identify missing persons from the war, people told us it would never be feasible to use DNA on such a large scale, or that it would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to do what we have now done – for a fraction of that cost,” he said.

The ICMP has obtained DNA profiles on some 12,000 bone…

Family Members Feel They Are Not Being Heard In Truth and Reconciliation Process

Family members of the missing and victims’ groups feel it is still too early to convene a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Bosnia Herzegovina, they told participants at a two-day conference on “Mechanisms for Truth Seeking and Documentation,” organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) to encourage an exchange of views on possible steps towards reconciliation.”The family members and other participants at the conference clearly agreed that the first priority should be to clarify the fate of the missing, to exhume the remains and to identify them and give them a decent burial,” said Asta Zinbo, ICMP’s Director of Civil Society Initiatives Program.

ICMP organized the conference so that families associations and victims groups could be better informed about the truth and reconciliation process and so they could share their views and opinions. “Our goal was to create an opportunity for these groups talk to each other and…

Holy See Donation of 5,000 USD to ICMP

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has received another generous donation from the Holy See. This latest donation of 5,000 USD will significantly contribute to the work and activities of the ICMP. The Holy See has made donations to ICMP since the year 2002 and is a valued contributor to ICMP’s work.In a statement made last Friday, H.E. Apostolic Nuncio to BiH, Santos Abril y Castello, emphasized the importance the Holy See places on ICMP’s work and expressed the sympathy of the Holy See toward families with missing relatives from the conflicts. H.E. Nuncio hopes that the fate of persons who remain unaccounted for will soon be resolved and that their families will finally find peace.

The existence of large numbers of missing persons poses an impediment to post conflict institution building as well as to peace initiatives and reconciliation. ICMP works with other international organizations and provides support…

Official Opening of Srebrenica-Potocari Memorial and Cemetery

With the official opening of the Srebrenica-Potocari Memorial and Cemetery on Saturday September 20th, 2003, almost 1000 individuals who died during the fall of Srebrenica in July 1995 are now laid to rest. The numbers will increase as more missing persons are found and identified. That these persons now have the final dignity of a marked grave instead of an anonymous memorial is due to the hard work of many people and organizations. The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), through its work with families, and governments, as well as by using traditional and new science, contributes to this work which recognizes the human rights of both the living and the dead.

President Bill Clinton, who is the prime guest of honour at the official opening, was the choice of both the Association of the Mothers of Srebrenica and of all the citizens of Srebrenica. It was President Clinton, who…

Swiss Donation to ICMP

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has received another generous donation from the Government of Switzerland. The funds will be used to support ICMP’s DNA laboratory in Sarajevo and will significantly assist ICMP’s DNA – led identification process. A donation agreement was signed by H.E. Ambassador Urs Breiter for Switzerland and by Adam Boys, ICMP’s Director of Administration and Finance. As H.E. Ambassador noted ” it is essential that families of the missing are given answers to questions that they have waited so long to have”.

The Government of Switzerland is a valued supporter of ICMP’s programmes and activities. ICMP has received regular donations from the Swiss Government since year 2001. So far, the donations have been used to support the exhumation and identification process of Kosovo Albanians buried in Serbia as well as ICMP’s Civil Society Initiatives Programme and its “Short term Activities – Paths to Reconciliation” project.

ICMP’s…

German Donation of 300,000 EUR to ICMP

The Federal Republic of Germany has generously donated 300,000 EUR to support ICMP’s DNA laboratory in Sarajevo. The donation will be used for the purchase of DNA reagents and chemicals and will significantly assist ICMP’s DNA – led identification process. The purpose is to increase the number of identifications of persons missing from the 1990’s conflicts in the regions of the former Yugoslavia. The agreement is to be signed by Mr. Achim Tröster, Chargé d´Affaires a.i. of the Federal Republic of Germany in Sarajevo, and Mr. Adam Boys, ICMP Principal Director, in ICMP headquarters in Sarajevo on 8th June 2004.
The armed conflicts in the territories of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990 have resulted in up to 40,000 missing persons. Although thousands of mortal remains have been exhumed from mass graves since the cessation of these conflicts, most of them have not been identified. ICMP esti-mates that over 25,000…

EU Donation of 900,000 Euro to ICMP

Ambassador Michael Humphreys, Head of the European Commission Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Mr. Gordon Bacon, Chief of Staff of the International Commission on Missing Persons signed an agreement for a contribution of 900,000 Euro from the European Union to ICMP. This donation is to support ICMP’s on-going blood collection programme and to start a new blood collection programme for family members living in European countries. Also included is a publicity campaign throughout the Former Yugoslavia as well as the European Union countries where family members with missing relatives are now living.Collecting blood samples from family members of missing persons, cataloguing blood samples, entering DNA profiles into the Family Reference Database is vital in the identification process of the missing persons in the region.

Long lasting uncertainty regarding the fate of missing persons is a continuing source of anguish for their families and is a real obstacle in reconciliation…

Missing Persons Institute

The first Working Group meeting to draft the Protocol for the Missing Persons Institute (MPI) took place yesterday in Sarajevo at the Joint Institutions Building. The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) welcomes this important beginning towards implementation of the MPI on the level of the State.The objective of the MPI is to provide BiH with a long-lasting mechanism to address the issue of persons missing from the conflicts in BiH, regardless of their ethnic, religious or national origin.

The MPI was originally founded by ICMP in August 2000. On 4th June 2003, the Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) members of the Presidency agreed unanimously on a decision for BiH to become a co-founder of the MPI, along with ICMP and asked for the Council of Ministers to establish a Working Group to draft the Protocol.

Currently the process of recovery and identification of mortal remains from the conflicts in BiH is…

ICMP and UNMIK Sign MOU on Missing Persons

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) will sign a Memorandum of Understanding in Pristina on Wednesday, 26 November 2003. Representatives of family associations of missing persons from the conflict, as well high-level Kosovo government officials, including President Ibrahim Rugova and Prime Minister Bajram Rexhepi, and members of the Coordination Center for Kosovo, are expected to attend the ceremony. Deputy SRSG, Jean Christian Cady, will sign on behalf of UNMIK and Gordon Bacon, Chief of Staff will sign for ICMP.In an effort to help Kosovo with its missing persons issue, ICMP began its operations in Kosovo in June 1999 and completed an agreement with the Coordination Center for Kosovo (CCK) in October 2001. The new MoU will reinforce procedures between ICMP and UNMIKregarding a DNA- led identification process, with the aim of better assisting families in their search for information on…

Missing Persons Issues in FYROM/Macedonia

Gordon Bacon, the Chief of Staff of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) made a review of progress in the country towards the determination of the fate and whereabouts of all persons searched for as a result of the 2001 crisis. Mr. Bacon noted that despite assurances made by the Government, minimal visible progress has been made to date.Notably absent is any implementation of an ICMP initiative presented to the Government a year ago to establish a national process to determine the fate and whereabouts of the 20 plus missing persons. ICMP’s initiative provides for the creation of a neutral and independent coordination body that would report directly to the Prime Minister and that would include persons representing both major ethnic communities in Macedonia.

In June the Parliament approved the creation of a Government/Parliamentary Commission, however, this commission was never implemented. In line with ICMP’s initial proposal, in August…