Posts Categorized: News

Survivors of Albania’s communist camps share stories in ICMP-supported documentary film

By Saša Kulukčija

Tirana, 17 May 2021 – Gjet Kadel was just seven years old when he and his family were imprisoned in Albania’s Tepelena camp. Decades later, he is still looking for the remains of family members who perished in the camp. His story is highlighted in The Weight of Mud, a documentary created by journalist Lulieta Progni of the Institute for Political Studies with support from the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

The documentary, created as part of a project financed by the European Union (EU) in Albania and the Government of Switzerland and implemented by ICMP and Authority for Information on Former State Security Documents (AIFSSD), was featured on ABC Albania and is now available on YouTube.

The film combines survivors’ stories with research and State Archive documents. About 600 people, 300 of them children, were killed or died due to inhuman conditions while imprisoned in Tepelena…

On Iraq’s Mass Grave Day, ICMP calls for the protection and investigation of mass graves

Baghdad, 16 May 2021 – To commemorate Mass Graves Day in Iraq, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in collaboration with Bournemouth University presented a recently published protocol on mass grave investigation and protection to Iraqi authorities involved in efforts to account for missing persons.

In 2007, the Iraqi Council of Ministers designated 16 May as the National Day of Mass Graves to draw attention to the fate of individuals who were killed and disappeared during decades of conflict and human rights abuse and buried in mass graves. Iraqi authorities estimate that between 250.000 and 1 million persons have gone missing in the country.

To commemorate Mass Graves Day, ICMP presented to Iraqi stakeholders Arabic- and Kurdish-language copies of The Bournemouth Protocol on Mass Grave Protection and Investigation, a joint product of ICMP and Bournemouth University that defines legal and practical standards of the protection and investigation of mass…

Germany accedes to ICMP Treaty

The Hague, 3 May 2021 – In a move that will deepen collaboration to benefit missing persons and their families around the world, Germany recently acceded to the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), becoming the 2014 Treaty’s ninth State Party.

Germany joins Afghanistan, Chile, Cyprus, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Serbia, Sweden and the United Kingdom as States Parties to the Treaty, which has also been signed by Belgium and El Salvador.  The Treaty established ICMP as an intergovernmental organization  headquartered in The Hague tasked with ensuring the cooperation of governments and others in locating missing persons cases from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, migration and other involuntary causes.

Germany’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, Dirk Brengelmann, on 30 April formally deposited Germany’s instrument of accession to the depositary, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. The German government on 17…

ICMP statement 33 years after Kurds suffered in Anfal campaign: victims and their families deserve justice

Baghdad, 14 April 2021 – To commemorate the 33rd anniversary of the Anfal campaign that killed and disappeared large numbers of Kurds, the International Commission on Missing Persons reiterated that the rights of victims and their families to truth, justice and reparations must be secured.

The Baath regime’s Anfal campaign involved military operations, attacks with chemical weapons, mass disappearances and other atrocities.

“ICMP pays its respects to all families of victims of the Anfal campaign, many of whom are still waiting for answers – as are families of victims of other atrocities committed by the Baath regime,” said Alexander Hug, head of ICMP in Iraq. “We are committed to supporting Iraqi authorities and families of victims in efforts to put in place a sustainable process to locate, recover and identify missing persons, and to secure their families’ rights, based on an impartial rule-of-law based approach.”

ICMP assists the Martyrs Foundation and Ministry…

New ICMP report recommends actions to help Libya account for missing persons

9 April 2021 – In an assessment report launched this week during a meeting of the Berlin Process’ International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Working Group, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) examines Libya’s efforts to account for missing persons and recommends action to establish a sustainable and effective missing persons process.

Between 10,000 and 20,000 persons are estimated to be missing in Libya. Prior to 2011, forced disappearances were linked to the regime’s violations of human rights, or were a consequence of wars in which the Libyan regime was involved. Later, widespread violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law, including forced disappearances, resulted in persons going missing. Additionally, an unknown number of persons have gone missing while crossing or departing Libya as part of migratory journeys.

The assessment, conducted by ICMP from October 2020 to January 2021 with the support of the Government of the Netherlands…

Progress Made by Bosnia and Herzegovina in Finding the “Bugojno 21” Who Went Missing in 1993

Photo: Illustration

By Saša Kulukčija

Sarajevo, 19 February 2021 –The mortal remains of four members of a high-profile group known as the “Bugojno 21” who disappeared 1993 in the Bugojno area during the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina have been located by the BIH authorities with support from the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). With two of the group identified earlier, 15 remain missing.

In a sign of progress in the case, BIH’s authorities this week identified the four individuals as Zoran Galić, Dragan Miličević, Ante Markulj and Franjo Jezidžić. The identification by authorities was based on analysis and matching of DNA profiles conducted late last year at ICMP’s lab in The Hague. ICMP’s technical assistance was made possible with the financial support of the European Union.

Dijana Strujić, President of Bugojno Municipality Association of Families of Killed and Missing Soldiers of the Homeland War, said the case “showed families that they should…

Online Discussion to Highlight Roles and Challenges of Colombian Civil Society Working on Missing Persons

Bogota, 13 October 2020 –The roles of and challenges faced by Colombian civil society organizations working on the issue of missing persons will be the focus of an online discussion hosted today by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the German Development Cooperation Agency (GIZ).

The event, to be held in Spanish, will be streamed live on ICMP’s Spanish Facebook page starting at 2 p.m. Colombian time (19:00GMT). The discussion will be based on a recent ICMP report that maps data on the work of civil society organizations, including family associations and other networks, involved in the efforts to account for the more than 120,000 persons who are estimated missing from Colombia’s more than 50 years of conflict.

The publication, the first of its kind in Colombia, highlights the central role played by civil society in ensuring that the state fulfils its obligation to investigate all missing…

Video: A Virtual Visit to ICMP HQ

The Hague, 6 October 2020 – A video recording of an open house held by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) offers viewers insights into the organization’s work at its headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands.

The open house event, held 1 October 2020, was a part of Just Peace Month, an initiative by the city of the Hague to highlight the many organizations related to justice and peace that are based in the city.

The two-hour event features an introduction by Director-General Kathryne Bomberger, a webinar on ICMP’s support to families of the missing, and a virtual tour of the laboratory where ICMP scientists extract and analyze DNA.

ICMP works with governments to help them account for missing persons, including by offering support in advanced DNA analysis to identify human remains, and it works with families of the missing to help them access their rights to truth, justice and reparations….

Visit ICMP virtually on 1 October!

29 September 2020: On Thursday 1 October, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is inviting online visitors to a virtual open house that offers insights into the organization’s work at its headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands.

The virtual visit includes an introduction by Director-General Kathryne Bomberger, an interactive webinar on ICMP’s support to families of the missing, and a virtual tour of the laboratory where ICMP scientists extract and analyze DNA.

The event is part of Just Peace Month, an initiative by the city of the Hague to highlight the many organizations related to justice and peace that are based in the city.

ICMP works with governments to help them account for missing persons, including by offering support in advanced DNA analysis to identify human remains, and it works with families of the missing to help them access their rights to truth, justice and reparations. In the former Yugoslavia, the…

ICMP Online Exhibit Showcases Material Created by Syrian Civil Society Organizations to Advocate for the Rights of Families of the Missing

An image from an advocacy film created by Syria Bright Future that is part of the exhibit. Photo: Syria Bright Future

By Yasmine Khalaf

11 September 2020 – An online exhibit featuring films, brochures and other material created by Syrian civil society organizations underlines the legal rights of families of the missing.

The 11 organizations created the materials using grants provided by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and financed by the European Union with the purpose of advancing the influence and independence of Civil Society in efforts to secure the rights of Syrian families with missing relatives. They use the material in their advocacy efforts, including to raise awareness among families of missing Syrians about their rights and their role in the search for the missing.

“The more vocal we are about the issue, the more others understand our suffering,” said Hala Al Ghawi, a physician who co-founded the organization Syria Bright Future, which created film about its work as part of the project. “Truth and justice will only be…