Adam Boys, Director of Operations at the International Commission on Missing Persons until October this year, has been named in the United Kingdom’s New Year’s Honors List as an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. The award recognizes more than 20 years of work in Bosnia and Herzegovina, initially delivering humanitarian aid and subsequently promoting post-war recovery and reconciliation.
“The OBE is a great honor, and I believe it particularly reflects a growing recognition of the importance of the work that ICMP is doing throughout the world to tackle the problem of missing persons in a systematic and effective way,” Boys said.
Boys, who was seriously injured in a car crash while helping to deliver aid in Herzegovina in 1994, served as Chief Financial Officer for the UK’s mission to the International Conference on the Former Yugoslavia in 1995 and 1996. From 1996 to 2000…
The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) was established in 1996 at a G7 Summit in Lyon, France, to secure the co-operation of governments and other authorities in locating and identifying persons missing as a result of the armed conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. The approach of working together with governments and other authorities, including courts and prosecutors, as well as ensuring the engagement of civil society, has proven to be highly effective. Today, over 70% of those reported missing have been accounted for from the conflicts in the Western Balkans.
ICMP’s mandate and activities were expanded in 2003 to enable the organization to work globally and to respond to cases of manmade and natural disasters. Subsequently, since 2004, ICMP has assisted countries around the world in addressing missing persons cases from conflict, human rights abuses, manmade and natural disasters, organized crime, human trafficking, migration and other causes.
Countries outside the…
The case of the 43 abducted Mexican students has drawn the world’s attention to the issue of enforced disappearances. Yet the Mexican case is no more than a microcosm of a global problem – an epidemic of missing persons has arisen from the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, from the effects of migration in Asia and the Americas, and from the continuing political and social upheavals across Africa, to cite just a few instances.
This is a global problem and it demands a global response.
Part of this global response was put in place on 15 December in the form of an international agreement signed in Brussels by the foreign ministers of the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Luxembourg and Sweden. The Agreement establishes the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) as a treaty-based international organization in its own right with its own structure of governance and international capacities.
ICMP is designated…
The Foreign Ministers of the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Belgium, and Luxembourg signed a Framework Agreement on 15 December that grants a new legal status to the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).
“This Agreement reflects a new international consensus on the issue of missing persons,” ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said immediately after the signing ceremony. “For decades the problem of missing persons has been treated as a humanitarian issue, or as a disaster-relief issue, or as a war-emergency issue – but it is now recognized as a systemic global challenge that demands a coherent and effective global response.”
Ms. Bomberger said the Agreement gives ICMP the tools it needs in order to remain at the forefront of this global response. “ICMP has been operating around the world for more than a decade: this Treaty means we can spearhead new initiatives in a way that is consistent with and supportive…
Resolving missing persons cases in Bosnia and Herzegovina – even after two decades – is a central and indispensable element in establishing a just and sustainable society, participants at an International Human Rights Day demonstration on behalf of the Missing said.
The Forum on Joint Memorialization of Missing Persons, which brings together representatives of Family Associations and other activists from across Bosnia and Herzegovina, organized a “silhouette of missing persons” event in Sarajevo on 10 December.
“It’s important that families of the missing mark International Human Rights Day, because we have experienced the disappearance of loved ones and we have become their voice. We have to fight for their right to a dignified burial, for their identity,” said Adis Hukanovic, a representative of the Forum. “By making this peaceful walk on International Human Rights Day we want to express our dissatisfaction with the general situation when it comes to finding and…
Members of the Syrian Commission for Transitional Justice (SCTJ) this week visited ICMP’s headquarters in Sarajevo, the Podrinje Identification Project and ICMP Identification Coordination Division in Tuzla, and the Potocari Memorial Center in Srebrenica.
During the 2-5 December visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, SCTJ members were briefed by ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger and other ICMP staff members, on the institutional, legal, technical and civil society aspects of the missing persons issue in different parts of the world. They also met with a range of BiH civil society groups active in the search for missing persons.
It is estimated that almost 50,000 persons are missing in Syria, including 30,000 as a result of the current conflict. Since fighting began in 2011 there have been reports of mass graves near major cities such as Deraa, Damascus, Aleppo, and in the Christian town of Sadad. During discussions in Sarajevo members of the SCTJ…
A successful combination of civil society engagement, institutional development and scientific innovation has made it possible to account for more than 70 percent of the missing from the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said at the December launch of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Missing Persons from the Armed Conflict of the 1990s: A Stocktaking.
“As many as 23,000 missing persons out of an estimated 30,000 reported missing as a consequence of the war have been accounted for,” she said. “No other country in the world has resolved such a large number of missing persons cases.”
The book-length ICMP report brings together in a single, detailed and systematic narrative all of the available information on missing persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina, providing documentary information on the search for the missing in every part of the country.
“Bosnia and Herzegovina must remain vigilant in accounting for the remaining 8,000 persons missing…
At the end of November the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) provided a final report to the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus (CMP), detailing the outcome of their two-year partnership to establish an effective DNA identification system to resolve the fate of persons who went missing during the conflicts in the years 1963-1964 and 1974 in Cyprus.
The collaboration between ICMP and the Cyprus CMP was established to provide for DNA testing from unidentified skeletal remains, and to perform advanced DNA matching between the resulting new DNA profiles and the DNA profiles of family members of the missing. The family reference DNA database to be used for comparison was provided in anonymous form from samples that had previously been collected and tested in Cyprus. The computerized DNA family matching procedure was done at ICMP in a blind manner, fostering both objectivity and the principle of personal data protection.
The International Commission on Missing Persons has received a further grant of US$200,000 from the Government of the Republic of Turkey, as in previous years. This funding will support ICMP’s activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and elsewhere.
“This donation is of great importance to ICMP – apart from its financial value it demonstrates Turkey’s commitment to supporting ICMP’s efforts to help Bosnia and Herzegovina address the issue of persons missing from armed conflict and crimes against humanity, regardless of their national or religious origin,” said ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger. She described the Turkish funding as “an important contribution to future peace and stability.”
Turkish Ambassador Cihad Erginay said “The Government of the Republic of Turkey attaches significant importance to the issue of missing persons as a global matter. As the only specific organization regarding missing persons cases, we have been supporting ICMP from the very beginning. The Balkan region is one…
A major Newsweek article on the emerging global challenge of missing persons cites ICMP as the acknowledged world leader in helping governments deal with the issue. The Newsweek report covers, among other things, the “worldwide first” this summer when leaders of Serbia, Montenegro, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, signed the ICMP Declaration on the role of states in addressing missing persons cases. By signing the Declaration, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger, notes, “the heads of state of countries that were the epicenter of a conflict, in which as many as 40,000 people went missing, formally recognized the legal, political, social and practical steps that states must take in order to help families of the missing locate and identify the remains of their loved ones”. The full Newsweek article can be accessed at http://www.newsweek.com/global-conflicts-create-record-numbers-missing-285274