Posts Categorized: News

Microsoft Supports ICMP

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10 November 2015: Microsoft Corporation has donated US$474,791 in software to the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). This will allow ICMP to maintain and enhance its Identification Database Management System (IDMS) software and add efficiency to its global communications.

This is the fifth major donation by Microsoft to ICMP. It donated software in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015 under its global “Unlimited Potential” initiative, which provides software support to non-profit organizations.

“ICMP operates a state-of-the-art iDMS and runs programs in many different parts of the world,” said ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger. “Microsoft’s assistance has been and continues to be of paramount importance to us as we develop our human identification database and expand our communications network to manage projects separated by large distances.”

The iDMS is a specialized software solution developed by ICMP for managing large scale missing persons programs. It has…

ICMP works with police DNA specialists from the Philippines

The Philippine National Police

Following meetings in Manila earlier this year between Philippine government officials and senior ICMP staff, two DNA scientists from the Philippine National Police (PNP) completed five weeks of training at ICMP’s facilities in Bosnia and Herzegovina in September and October.

The Philippines, one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries, suffers from devastating typhoons. Although its disaster-response capacity is substantial – Philippines medical teams were dispatched to Thailand and Indonesia to offer assistance in the wake of the 2004 Tsunami – identification of missing persons is complicated by administrative factors. Among other things, DNA evidence has not been fully integrated in the country’s judicial process, which means that a key element in an effective system of identifying missing persons – resolving legal status – is not yet in place.

“We are working case by case, but in a mass disaster situation you…

Under a Foreign Flag

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Rene Huel examines the forensic and ethical implications of a multi-generational missing persons case

During a two-day battle in July 1944, the Norwegian Ski Battalion (SS-Schijäger-Bataillon “Norge”) incurred heavy losses in the hills of Kaprolat and Hasselmann in the Karelia region (now in the Soviet Union). The troops were among about 15,000 Norwegians who volunteered for combat duty with the Wehrmacht during World War Two. It is estimated that 190 Norwegian soldiers took part in the Karelian battle: approximately 100 were killed, 40 were taken prisoner and 50 escaped. This was the largest loss of Norwegian soldiers in a single incident in the whole of the war. After 1945, soldiers who had fought on the German side were viewed as traitors: survivors faced the possibility of prosecution as collaborators.

When relatives of those who had gone missing in the Kaprolat and Hasselmann engagement…

ICMP Hague Meeting Explores Global Missing Persons Strategy

 

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The first Conference of State Parties of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) was held on 29 October at the Foreign Ministry of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in The Hague. The meeting, was chaired by a representative of the United Kingdom.

The CSP brings together countries that have signed the Agreement on the Status and Functions of ICMP: the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg signed the agreement in December 2014 and other countries, including El Salvador, are expected to sign in the near future. Representatives of El Salvador, Germany, the US, Interpol and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) attended the inaugural Conference as observers.

The CSP discussed ICMP’s plan of work through 2018.  Among key activities for the period, ICMP will host the first meeting in November of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee on Missing Persons, whose initial focus will…

Indonesia Confronts Half a Century of Silence on the Missing

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Bojana Dzokanovic and Kevin Sullivan explore the campaign to account for hundreds of thousands of victims buried in mass graves in Indonesia 50 years ago.

In early October, 77-year old Tom Iljas, an Indonesian who has spent decades living in Sweden, visited a site in Western Sumatra where he believed his father may have been buried. His father was one of the victims of the violent 1965-66 campaign against communists and communist sympathizers that is generally reckoned to have resulted in the killing of a least 500,000 people.

Mr Iljas was unable to explore the site, as he was arrested by police and then deported from Indonesia. His only offense was to look for his father’s grave.

In a related incident, also in October, editors of a student magazine at a well-known university in Central Java were questioned by police after they published an…

Nepalese Civil Society Pursues Resolution of the Country’s Missing Persons Issue

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By Bojana Djokanovic

Around 30 people are believed to have been subject to enforced disappearance in Nepal between 1960 and 1989 – but this number increased exponentially during the ten-year conflict between Maoist guerrillas and the government in Kathmandu. More than 10,000 people died in the 1996-2006 war and more than 1,300 were reported as missing.

The conflict was launched by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) after it was prevented from participating in a national election. Unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence, and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment were widespread and committed by both sides. According to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, up to 9,000 cases of serious violations of international human rights or humanitarian law may have been committed, although there is a widely acknowledged…

ICMP Hague Meeting: Enhances Global Missing Persons Strategy

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29 October 2015: The first Conference of State Parties of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) was held today at the Foreign Ministry of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in The Hague. The meeting, was chaired by a representative of the United Kingdom.

The CSP brings together countries that have signed the Agreement on the Status and Functions of ICMP: the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg signed the agreement in December 2014 and other countries, including El Salvador, are expected to sign in the near future. Representatives of El Salvador, Germany, the US, Interpol and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) attended today’s Conference as observers.

The CSP discussed ICMP’s plan of work through 2018.  Among key activities for the period, ICMP will host the inaugural meeting in November of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee on Missing Persons, whose initial focus will…

Colombia: Effective Missing Persons Process

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27 October 2015: Sunday’s provincial and municipal polls in Colombia were hailed as possibly the country’s “last war-time elections”, since the Government and the FARC guerrilla movement achieved a breakthrough in peace negotiations in Havana last month, committing themselves to conclude a final peace agreement by March 2016.

On 17 October the two sides agreed to create a special unit to search for the missing when the final peace agreement is signed.

ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said today that concrete progress towards peace has opened the door to tackling one of the major issues created by half a century of conflict.

“Colombia is facing an enormous challenge in addressing the issue of missing persons. The numbers are vast and the political and legal hurdles will be numerous.  However, successfully locating and identifying the missing is a necessary step to upholding the law, including ensuring…

NFI and ICMP to Collaborate on Global Missing Persons Challenge

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The Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) and the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will make it possible for the two organizations to collaborate more closely.

Under the agreement, which was signed by Director-General of  the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice Gerard Roes and ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger, the two organizations will cooperate on joint project proposals, provide mutual support in field operations and collaborate on rule-of-law programs that require forensic expertise and training. This builds on a strong relationship that has been developed over a period of years.

“ICMP is a very experienced institution with an outstanding reputation,” said Kees Möhring, NFI Director of External Relations. “It is a specialist in using DNA methods for identification. DNA is also a specialty of the NFI, both for identification purposes and forensic purposes. Combining the skills and expertise…

Accounting for the missing in Sri Lanka

 

Six years after the end of what is generally regarded as the longest armed conflict in Asia, relatives still search for answers about the whereabouts of their missing family members. The precise number of persons who are missing as a result of the Sri Lankan conflict remains a matter of dispute. Media reports highlight the discrepancies between numbers given by government and non-government agencies and numbers based on cases reported by families searching for their relatives.  The Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) of the UN Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights has recorded 5,671 reported cases of wartime-related disappearance in Sri…