Posts Categorized: News

Strategic measures for an effective missing persons process in Iraq

In July 2018, ICMP produced a document outlining strategic measures for an effective missing persons process in Iraq. These options were developed during workshops with representatives of Iraqi institutions and civil society in 2019 and 2020. Iraqi government representatives discussed a final draft five-year strategy based on the options, at a conference hosted by ICMP in The Hague from 28 August to 1 September 2021.

At the 2021 conference, consensus was reached on 12 conclusions that form the basis for a comprehensive strategy, include creating a central mechanism and adopting a national plan, improving data management and data protection, ensuring state funding for the process, strengthening the role and capacity of civil society, upholding the rights of survivors, particularly women and bringing perpetrators to justice.

ICMP proposes the following steps to be discussed by Iraqi institutional representatives and Iraqi civil society to develop such a strategy.

ICMP-Facilitated Syrian Policy Coordination Group Discusses Draft Missing Persons Law

The Hague, 28 January 2022: At its 7th meeting today, the Policy Coordination Group (PCG), a Syrian-led initiative on the missing and disappeared facilitated by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), discussed a draft Missing Persons Law drafted by the PCG, that can enable a sustainable and just process to account for the missing in Syria.

The law provides for systematic steps that are necessary to account for missing persons; it also stipulates measures to uphold the rights of families of the missing and ensure that they receive material and moral support.

More than 130,000 persons are estimated to be missing in Syria as a result of the conflict. In addition, the country has a legacy of missing and disappeared persons cases linked to human rights abuses and other causes prior to the conflict, and thousands of Syrians who have fled the fighting have gone missing…

Albanian Family Associations and Non-Governmental Organizations Enhance Cooperation to Address the Issue of Persons Missing During the Communist Era

Tirana, 25 January 2022 – Nine Albanian Family Associations (FAs) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work collaboratively to address the issue of persons missing during the communist era in Albania as the result of the systematic violations of human rights from the former communist regime.

All nine signatories of the Memorandum of Understanding are beneficiaries of ICMP’s small grants program in Albania, which was funded by the European Union and the Swiss Government in 2020-2021.

It is estimated that around 6,000 persons went missing under the communist regime in Albania in the period between 1944 and 1991. According to official data, 5,501 persons convicted for political reasons were executed extrajudicially during this period. Their bodies were never returned to their families. Official data also indicates that an additional 987 political prisoners died from various causes in prisons and detention centers in Albania. The whereabouts…

ICMP-Facilitated Syrian Policy Coordination Group Adopts Proposed Constitutional Principles on Syria’s Missing and Disappeared

Photo from previous PCG meeting.

The Hague, 21 December 2021: – The Policy Coordination Group (PCG), a Syrian-led initiative on the missing and disappeared facilitated by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), adopted a set of Proposed Constitutional Principles on Syria’s Missing and Disappeared today.

These principles address the legacy of systematic human rights violations in Syria, including the widespread practice of enforced disappearance, and the need to establish rights-based guarantees to protect all persons from going missing or from being disappeared.

The document adopted today by the PCG is divided into two sections and a descriptive annex. The first section includes provisions directly related to the issue of the missing, including the right to life and dignity, safeguards against the deprivation of liberty, and transitional justice measures. The second lists provisions that are indirectly linked to the missing persons issue such as supporting a political transition based on the rule of law and the separation…

ICMP and Nadia’s Initiative Launch Collaborative Effort to Help Families of Missing Persons

The Hague, 11 December 2021: – The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and Nadia’s Initiative, the international non-governmental organization founded by Nobel Peace Laureate and Yazidi survivor Nadia Murad, have agreed to partner on efforts to provide support to families of missing individuals in Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere.

Under a Memorandum of Understanding signed by ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger and Nadia’s Initiative Executive Director Abid Shamdeen at ICMP’s Headquarters in The Hague today, the two organizations will implement a series of activities throughout 2022 designed to support the families of persons who went missing as a result of conflict and human rights abuses. Nadia’s Initiative and ICMP will develop learning and development programs to educate family members on the responsibilities of the state, legal frameworks, excavation and identification processes, and memorial events for missing persons. This knowledge will, in turn, help build civil leadership capacity, particularly that of female…

International Human Rights Day: ICMP Highlights Experience of Yazidi Families of the Missing

The Hague, 11 December 2021 – On the occasion of International Human Rights Day, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) brought together Yazidi families of the missing to discuss the issue of missing persons from Da’esh crimes, and to commemorate those who disappeared, with a memorial concert and photography exhibition.

Da’esh’s invasion of the Iraqi province of Sinjar in 2014 resulted in the deaths of more than 5,000 men and the abduction of 7,000 people, mainly women and children. A significant number of those who were abducted are still missing in Iraq and Syria.

At the panel discussion held in The Hague, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger stressed that, “Successful efforts to account for those who are missing depend on the proactive participation of families and of civil society as a whole.” She said it was necessary for government agencies “to work closely with families in order to implement a missing…

ICMP Extends Condolences to Yazidi Families Of Victims of Da’esh Atrocities Being Buried Today

The Hague, 9 December 2021: – The remains of 41 recently-identified victims of August 2014 Da’esh atrocities in Northern Iraq were buried today at a ceremony in the village of Kocho in Sinjar.

Over the past several years, the Iraqi authorities have located and recovered a number of mass graves related to crimes committed by Da’esh against the Yezidi population in Kocho village, near Sinjar.  During this period, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has provided technical and logistical support in the excavation of different sites, and collaborated with the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD).  In addition, ICMP has provided support to the Iraqi teams to collect genetic reference samples from families of the missing, in order to help Iraq, identify missing persons from these crimes through a DNA-led process of identifications, making it possible to identify the remains buried today.

“States have…

Victims Found in Mass Grave in Kalinovik Linked to July 1995 Srebrenica Genocide

The Hague, 8 December 2021: – The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is assisting the Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH) authorities in identifying human remains exhumed from the Dobro Polje site near Kalinovik in June 2021. Biological samples were taken from the exhumed remains and matched with reference samples provided to ICMP by relatives of the missing who last saw them alive in Srebrenica in July 1995. On 8 December 2021, ICMP submitted DNA match reports on ten Srebrenica victims to the BIH Missing Persons Institute (MPI).

“The Kalinovik site is the first mass grave linked to the July 1995 Srebrenica genocide to be exhumed since the exhumation at Kozluk in April 2016,” said Matthew Holliday, the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program. “What is unusual about the Kalinovik site is that of all the Srebrenica genocide gravesites that have been recovered to date, it is by far the furthest…

ICMP Pays Tribute to Former Chairman Bob Dole

The Hague, 5 December 2021: – Ambassador Thomas Miller, Chairman of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), on Sunday paid tribute to former ICMP Chairman Bob Dole, who died on Sunday at the age of 98.

Senator Dole, who succeeded former US Secretary of State Cyrus Vance as ICMP Chair in 1997 and served until 2001, helped to steer the organization in the years immediately after it was established to assist the countries of the former Yugoslavia in accounting for 40,000 people who had gone missing during the conflicts of the 1990s.

“Bob Dole took the helm of ICMP near the start of a trajectory that would see it develop a model for accounting for the missing that is now being applied throughout the world,” Ambassador Miller said. “During his chairmanship, ICMP embarked on preparations for a process of mass DNA-based identification that had never been tried before. It was…

Greek Minister for Migration Hosts Third ICMP-Facilitated Discussion On Missing Migrants in the Mediterranean with Cyprus, Italy and Malta

19 November 2021: Representatives of Cyprus, Greece, Italy, and Malta participated today in the third meeting of the Joint Process, facilitated by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) at the Ministry of Migration and Asylum of Greece in Athens, to discuss the way forward in the effort to account for missing migrants and refugees in the Mediterranean region. Since the beginning of 2014, more than 23,000 people have died or gone missing attempting to reach Europe.

At a meeting convened by ICMP in Rome in June 2018, the same four European Mediterranean countries launched a Joint Process to expand cooperation and enhance domestic capabilities to account for missing migrants and refugees. The four countries agreed to work with ICMP to assess their investigatory capacities, to propose strategies to redress possible shortcomings, and to enhance cooperation.

Speaking at today’s meeting, Greece’s Minister for Migration and Asylum, Notis Mitarachi, said the Joint Process should be extended to more Mediterranean…