Yearly Archives: 2005

Resolving the Fate of Missing Persons: A Prerequisite for European Integration

Associations of Families of Missing Persons called today on governments in the former Yugoslavia to fulfill their responsibility to resolve the fate of persons missing as a result of the conflicts there during the 1990s and to ensure that the rights of surviving relatives are protected. At the conclusion of a three-day Regional Conference of family members of the missing in Novi Sad, northern Serbia, organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), participants expressed unity in their determination to work in partnership with all responsible bodies to resolve the missing persons issue as quickly as possible.Participants at the conference, who included family members of the missing of all main ethnic groups from Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, agreed to send a message to the European Commission that resolving the issue of missing persons, as well…

DNA analysis: Only Way in Identification Process

Family members of persons missing from the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia agreed today that a DNA-based identification process is the only way to identify mortal remains of missing persons recovered years after the end of hostilities. The family members of the missing, from all ethnic groups across the former Yugoslavia, were discussing the progress to date in the identification process today, on the second day of a three-day regional conference organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Novi Sad, northern Serbia and Montenegro.Regional experts in the identification of mortal remains explained the process of identification to conference participants and the vital role played by DNA in that process. ICMP pioneered the use of DNA as the first step in identifying large numbers of persons, and has found more than 8,500 matches between mortal remains and family members of the missing in the former Yugoslavia since…

10 Years after Dayton: Governments Must Do More for Families of the Missing

Ten years after the Dayton Peace Agreement ended hostilities in the former Yugoslavia, representatives of families of persons who went missing during the conflict, from all ethnic groups, sat down with government authorities today and urged them to do more to release information on the fate of their loved ones.The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is hosting this three-day conference in Novi Sad, in northern Serbia and Montenegro, to facilitate dialogue between regional government officials, representatives of the international community and missing persons family associations.

On the first day of the conference, Rasim Ljajic, the Minister for Human and Minority Rights of Serbia and Montenegro, announced that his Government would draft a law designed to address the issue of missing persons. This law, he said, would be based on the model of the Law on Missing Persons that was adopted in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2004. The Law gives missing persons'…

Senior Deputy High Representative Visits ICMP in Tuzla

Senior Deputy High Representative Martin Ney said he was deeply moved by the work of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) after he visited the organization's Podrinje Identification Project in Tuzla on Thursday morning.More than 3,000 body-bags containing mortal remains recovered from grave sites associated with the 1995 fall of Srebrenica are stored at the facility. Identification of Srebrenica-related remains is difficult because of the large number of victims, the time that has passed and because the bodies were severely damaged when they were moved and re-buried in “secondary” mass graves by the perpetrators in an effort to hide evidence of the killings.

The Podrinje Identification Project, named after the River Drina basin in which Srebrenica victims were buried, was established in 1999 as a facility to store and examine the remains. When ICMP's DNA matching has indicated the identity of a missing Srebrenica victim, the ICMP forensic pathologist…

Families of Missing Persons from Across the Former Yugoslavia to Discuss Common Issues

Common problems faced by family members of all ethnic groups across the former Yugoslavia will be highlighted at the Eighth Regional Networking Conference on Missing Persons Issues, organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), from Friday, 11 November, to Sunday, 13 November, 2005 in Novi Sad, Serbia and Monte Negro.
Some 40,000 persons are believed to have gone missing in the conflicts during the 1990s in the former Yugoslavia. Approximately 20,000 are still unaccounted for. Families of missing persons, regardless of their ethnic background, are facing uncertainty over the fate of their loved ones and many practical problems as a result of their status.
ICMP advocates on behalf of family members and works with associations of family members of the missing to develop networks and provide training that will strengthen them and help them advocate on their own behalf. ICMP has been organizing Regional Conferences on Missing Persons Issues…

Visit of Ambassadors and ICMP Commissioner Highlights International Community Commitment on Issue of Missing Persons

After visiting the exhumation of a mass grave site in eastern Bosnia on Wednesday, International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) Commissioner Michael Portillo called on the Government of Bosnia-Herzegovina to strive for truth and justice for family members of the missing and for the country of Bosnia-Herzegovina as a whole.BiH Presidency member Sulejman Tihic, Michael Portillo, a former British Secretary of State for Defence, and British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft led a visit of 8 European Union Ambassadors and 11 senior diplomats in Bosnia-Herzegovina to the exhumation of a mass grave containing skeletal remains of some of the victims of the 1995 fall of Srebrenica. The three future directors of the country's new State-level Missing Persons Institute (MPI), Milan Bogdanic, Marko Jurisic and Amor Masovic, also took part in today's visit.

“If Bosnia-Herzegovina is to move beyond the hatreds that produced this type of atrocity,” said Mr. Portillo after visiting the…

BiH Prosecutors Tour ICMP Identification Facilities in Tuzla

Forty Prosecutors from all levels of government in Bosnia-Herzegovina visited the identification facilities of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Tuzla, eastern Bosnia, on Thursday.The prosecutors were shown details of the process of identification of mortal remains exhumed from individual and mass graves related to the 1992-95 war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The State Court is now prosecuting war crimes and better understanding of the identification process, as well as the way secondary grave sites were created, is likely to aid their cases.

ICMP assists local authorities in excavation and exhumation of grave sites and in the identification of remains, using a combination of traditional forensic techniques coupled with cutting edge DNA technology. The introduction of DNA by the ICMP as the basis for finding the identity of remains on a mass scale has radically changed the prospects of identification of the missing. ICMP created a database of DNA profiles…

ICMP Announces DNA Results in Croatia

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the Croatian Ministry of Family, Veteran's Affairs, and Intergenerational Solidarity announced the first results of Joint Project on DNA-led Identifications. Based on these results, an additional 50 families will finally know the fate of their loved ones.Forty-five matches between blood samples collected by ICMP and bone samples analyzed in labs in Croatia were generated in Croatian labs. Five new matches were generated between bones analyzed by ICMP and blood collected by Croatian authorities, with another two matches regenerated under the project which had already been matched in ICMP labs.

“Today we see tremendous results. But rather than the culmination of the project, it is what we hope will be seen as the commencement of a new phase of increased joint success in providing answers to all families,” said Jeffrey Buenger, ICMP Director of Government Relations. “Both sides anticipate additional matches, meaning more…

ICMP Continues with Identification of Tsunami Victims

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has, to date, submitted 326 DNA Match Reports to the Thai authorities, pursuant to ICMP's work on identification of the tsunami victims as part of its humanitarian efforts.In May 2005, ICMP agreed with the Government of Thailand to assist in the identification of tsunami victims. ICMP analyzes bone samples in order to extract DNA profiles and compare them with DNA profiles from the reference samples collected by the Thai authorities and authorities of the countries whose citizens went missing in Thailand during the tsunami. A DNA match report indicating identity of a missing person is forwarded to the Thai authorities.

The Tsunami Victim Identification Tracking Chart, posted on ICMP's web site, contains the number of bone samples received, DNA profiles obtained from bone samples, and the number of DNA match reports. Further, it contains a breakdown by country of origin of the missing…

Missing Persons Institute Launched on International Day of the Disappeared

The Missing Persons Institute of Bosnia-Herzegovina was officially launched this morning at a ceremony at the Government Joint Institutions Building in Sarajevo. Bosnia-Herzegovina's Minister for Human Rights and Refugees, Mirsad Kebo, and Chief of Staff of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), Kathryne Bomberger, signed the agreement that established the Council of Ministers as a co-founder of the Institute, along with the ICMP, thereby launching the Institute at the level of the State of Bosnia Herzegovina.Until today's State-level launch of the Missing Persons Institute (MPI), which was originally created in 2000 by ICMP, responsibility for addressing the issue of the missing from the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) was divided between the country's two highly autonomous entities.

“The implementation of the Missing Persons Institute marks a milestone in the history of both BiH and the International Commission on Missing Persons,” said Kathryne Bomberger in a speech at the signing ceremony….