Posts Categorized: News

ICMP supports Iraqi authorities in their quest to find all missing persons

Baghdad, 16 May 2022 –  The International Commission on Missing Person (ICMP) supports Iraqi authorities, including the National Team, represented by the Directorate for Protection and Affairs of Mass Graves / Martyrs Foundation and the Medico-Legal Directorate / Ministry of Health, both technically and logistically, in their quest to find all missing persons, regardless of the cause of their disappearance.

ICMP has assisted Iraq since 2003. An ICMP office was opened in Baghdad in 2008, and in Erbil in 2010. ICMP worked with concerned authorities working on missing persons, and supported governmental efforts to establish Iraqi expertise to work in the field and in DNA laboratories, which was one of ICMP’s goals since the beginning in Iraq.

ICMP has also worked with Civil Society Organizations to develop and enhance their abilities to have an effective participation in locating missing persons; ICMP today supports excavations such as the one currently on-going in…

ICMP and Iraq National Team Distribute Mass Graves Protection Guidelines

Baghdad, 16 May 2022: – To mark Iraq’s National Day of Mass Graves, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) produced guidelines on legal standards and protocols for the protection of mass graves. The guidelines flyers distributed, in Arabic, Kurdish and English, were jointly prepared by ICMP and the Iraq National Team.

“The guidelines presented today offer practical information that will help families of the missing and other stakeholders to play an effective role in the missing persons process,” ICMP Director-General, Kathryne Bomberger, said.

Ms Bomberger noted that ICMP has participated, along with the key Iraqi institutions, in developing a long-term strategy to account for the missing, and a number of initiatives, including work on mass graves protection, can be launched as soon as a new government is formed.

In 2007, Iraq’s Council of Ministers designated 16 May as the National Day of Mass Graves. Iraqi authorities estimate that between 250,000…

Syria, Brussels VI: ICMP-facilitated Policy Coordination Group Presents Recommendations on Missing, Disappeared and Detained

The Hague, 4 May 2022: – The Syrian Policy Coordination Group (PCG) presented recommendations on the issue of missing, disappeared and detained persons, at an online Brussels VI event facilitated by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) with the participation of the Delegation of the European Union to Syria.

During the event, the PCG presented steps designed to develop a strategic policy framework to support the process of establishing effective domestic, regional and international mechanisms to account for Syria’s missing and disappeared persons and to uphold the rights of their families.

Today’s event follows the eight session of the PCG and a roundtable in late March with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), at which participants discussed the proposed new international mechanism for Syria’s Missing and Disappeared.

“Over 130,000 persons are missing from the conflict and people continue to be disappeared on a regular basis…

Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Visits ICMP Headquarters

The Hague, 25 April 2022 – Today, as a part of his official visit to the Netherlands, the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Šefik Džaferović, visited the Headquarters and DNA laboratory of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and met with ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger.

Ms. Bomberger and Mr. Džaferović discussed ongoing efforts to account for the 7,000 persons who are still missing from the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1990s.

“In the last 25 years, with ICMP assistance and through the pioneering use of DNA, the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina have been able to account for 75 percent of the 30,000 persons who were reported missing from the conflict,” Ms Bomberger said. “This is a ratio that has not been equaled in any other post-conflict country.”

She said the process has enabled families of the missing “to secure their rights to truth and justice”…

ICMP Convenes Meeting of International Organizations to Support Libya’s Missing Persons Work

The Hague, 8 April 2022 – The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) convened this week an online coordination meeting between international organizations whose work is relevant to supporting Libya’s efforts to locate missing and disappeared persons from armed conflict, human rights abuses, migration and other circumstances.

The focus of the “Interagency Roundtable” is to support Libya’s efforts to create a sustainable missing persons strategy. The meeting follows the creation of a Libyan Expert Group on Missing and Disappeared Persons, which was launched in The Hague on 20 March 2022 with ICMP’s facilitation.

Speaking on Thursday at the roundtable meeting, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said an effective missing persons process in Libya will benefit from the creation of a central record, enhanced cooperation between the relevant institutions, a program of capacity building, and a dedicated DNA workflow to find all missing persons, regardless of ethnic, national or religious background, whether they…

ICMP statement on recent visit to Yerevan and Baku to address the issue of missing persons

The Hague, 7 April 2022: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) welcomes the outcomes of discussions on the situation in the South Caucasus yesterday, in Brussels, at a meeting of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, and hosted by the President of the European Council, Charles Michel.

The ICMP Director General, Ms. Kathryne Bomberger, visited Armenia last week and Azerbaijan this week for high-level meetings at the invitation of the respective governments to discuss effective cooperation to locate persons missing as a result of armed conflicts in the region. ICMP was assured of the political will of both countries to step-up the efforts of their respective institutions to account for missing persons, thereby giving answers to their families and advancing confidence and peaceful coexistence.

ICMP will in the short-term present both governments with a plan proposing…

Policy Coordination Group, Families of the Missing, Activists & UN Representatives Discuss Syria’s Missing at ICMP-facilitated Roundtable

The Hague, 25 March 2022: – The Syrian Policy Coordination Group (PCG), together with families of the missing, and civil society representatives, discussed an international mechanism for Syria’s Missing and Disappeared with representatives of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) at a roundtable today facilitated by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

Today’s discussion followed up on the eighth session of the PCG earlier this month, at which participants called for a meeting to discuss a new international mechanism.

On 24 December 2021, the UN General Assembly (Resolution 76/228) asked Secretary-General António Guterres to conduct a study on missing persons in Syria, in consultation with the OHCHR. OHCHR announced that the study would endeavor to bolster efforts, including through existing measures and mechanisms, to clarify the fate and whereabouts of missing persons from Syria, identify human remains and provide support to families “with the…

Madeleine Albright: An Inspiration To Women Who Organize and Campaign for Justice

Photo: United States Department of State

The Hague, 25 March 2022: – The Chair of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), Ambassador Thomas Miller, paid tribute today to the former US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, who died this week at the age of 84.

“Secretary Albright’s remarkable life, beginning with exile from Czechoslovakia to escape Nazi and then Communist persecution, sustained a commitment to principled leadership,” Ambassador Miller said, noting that “several of my fellow Commissioners either worked with or for Secretary Albright and can personally attest to her tenacity, integrity, warmth, and friendship.”

Ambassador Miller said that this principled leadership was at the heart of US support for ICMP when in the late 1990s it began to develop an effective model to help governments account for missing persons from disasters, conflicts and other causes.

ICMP was established just months before Madeleine Albright’s appointment as Secretary of State, and during her tenure, which saw the countries of…

Expert Group on Missing and Disappeared Persons Launched to Account for Missing in Libya

The Hague, 20 March: — The newly-formed Libyan Expert Group on Missing and Disappeared Persons held its first meeting in The Hague this week. The work of the Expert Group, is supported by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and includes representatives from the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Interior, the General Authority for the Search and Identification of Missing Persons (GASIMP), and other Libyan forensic, judicial and law enforcement experts.

This week’s meeting focused on steps that will strengthen the legal and institutional framework in Libya, enhance standards and procedures applied in investigations, strengthen forensic capacities, and enhance data privacy measures and work with families of the missing. Participants also discussed measures that are urgently needed to protect and investigate mass graves in and around Tarhuna.

Speaking on Saturday at the close of the two-day meeting, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said an effective missing persons process in Libya…

ICMP Presents Human Identification Methods at Forensic Training For Syrian Families of the Missing and Civil Society Organizations

The Hague, 15 March 2022: ICMP has presented a series of three training sessions to civil society organizations (CSOs) and families of the missing in Northeast Syria. The training, which concluded yesterday, introduced scientific methods to facilitate the location and identification of missing persons, with a focus on forensic processes and safeguarding forensic evidence.

The 60 participants learned about the role of families and CSOs in finding and reporting mass graves, familiarization with ICMP’s Online Inquiry Center, safeguarding mass graves, and risk assessments when safeguarding mass graves. Participants applied knowledge gained during the training by using the Carana missing persons simulation developed by ICMP.

“The role of families is central in an effective missing persons process,” said the Head of ICMP’s Syria/MENA Program, Lena Alhusseini. “Families must be actively engaged in securing their rights to justice, truth and reparations, and the work we have been doing through these courses is designed…