Posts Categorized: News

International Day of the Disappeared: ICMP and Iraqi Partners Launch Strategic Policy Event

The Hague, 30 August 2021 – The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), together with Iraqi partners, today launched a strategic policy meeting on “Missing Persons in Iraq: The Way Forward”. The objective of the three-day meeting, initiated on the occasion of the International Day of the Disappeared, is to enhance Iraqi efforts to account for all missing persons, regardless of sectarian, or national background or the time period, location, or circumstances of their disappearance.

“This meeting in The Hague brings together government representatives from across Iraq, including representatives from ministries and institutions that have particular responsibility for this issue. The object is to develop a joint strategy to account for missing persons and to secure the rights of all families of the missing,” ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said at the opening of today’s meeting.

The event will focus on a multi-pronged strategy that includes the creation of a centralized Iraqi…

Global Report on Missing Persons: Key Challenges & Strategic Opportunities

The Hague, 27 August 2021 – The first edition of the Global Report on Missing persons, published today, ahead of the International Day of the Disappeared, examines why increasing numbers of people are going missing around the world, why many remain missing, and the policies that governments and others can implement in order to address this issue in effective ways.

Published by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) with the support of the United Kingdom, the Global Report brings together the work of distinguished academics and practitioners to explore key challenges and strategic opportunities in the global effort to account for large numbers of missing persons.

The first edition of the Global Report examines the issue of missing persons as a result of irregular migration in the Mediterranean, Central America and East Asia, and disappearances in the context of conflicts in Africa and South Asia. Topics are studied from…

ICMP Presentation Commemorates Missing Persons in Colombia

The Hague, 15 July 2021: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has inaugurated an online digital presentation, which was presented this week in Bogota and at ICMP’s Headquarters in The Hague. The presentation features personal artefacts donated to ICMP by families of the missing in Colombia. The launch was part of an event hosted by ICMP to mark the completion of the first phase of its Colombia Program. The artistic intervention was developed by Creative Court, a Hague-based organization that works at the interface of art and global justice.

Participants at the event highlighted the indispensable role being played by families of the missing in Colombia, and the importance of effective commemoration.

“Families are central to the process of accounting for their missing loved ones and their initiatives to commemorate their relatives remind us of the same shared struggle,’ ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said. ‘This event focuses on the importance of…

Syria Policy Group Adopts Ethical Charter on Data Collection

The Hague, 13 July 2021 – The Policy Coordination Group (PCG), a Syrian-led initiative on the missing and disappeared facilitated by ICMP, this week adopted an Ethical Charter.

This Charter contains ethical standards and codes of conduct to be followed during data collection and documentation of missing persons. The Charter prioritizes the rights of victims and embodies a rights-based approach to accounting for missing persons. It stipulates that data must be processed according to clearly stated legal provisions, while maintaining confidentiality, transparency, neutrality and non-discrimination. The principles outlined in the Ethical Charter apply to all forms of data and evidence, from oral testimonies to the handling of human remains exhumed from mass and clandestine graves.

The Ethical Charter establishes a set of principles to guide data collection and documentation and support best practice. Some of these principles are already enshrined in international instruments, while others reflect lessons learned from more than…

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…