Posts Categorized: News

Commitment and Cooperation in Resolving BiH Missing Persons Cases

Town Hall Meeting in Sarajevo

10 February 2015: The BiH Prosecutor’s Office is committed to the work of searching and identifying missing persons, Deputy Chief Prosecutor Gordana Tadic said today, pointing out that since 2013 the number of prosecutors working on missing persons cases has grown from one to 35.

Ms Tadic was speaking at a Town Hall meeting organized by ICMP at the Hotel Sarajevo in Sarajevo. The meeting brought together representatives of associations of families of missing persons, the BiH Missing Persons Institute (MPI), the BiH Prosecutor’s Office, and the BiH Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees to discuss what has been done to resolve missing persons issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina so far, and what has to be done in the future.

Ema Cekic, from the Association of Families of Missing Persons, Vogosca, called for a common approach by BIH institutions, including the MPI and the State Prosecutor’s Office. “Cooperation among the associations…

New Initiative to Find Missing Persons in Iraq

6 February 2015: Senior government officials and legal experts from Iraq completed a three-day seminar in The Hague today that focused on the use of forensic evidence in court-led processes regarding mass graves and missing persons.

The seminar brought together legal experts from domestic and international courts to assess and strengthen the capacity of the Iraqi justice system to address the issue of the missing effectively, and to formulate specific recommendations for legal reforms that will facilitate progress in this area.

The seminar was organized as part of an initiative of the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights (MHR).

The seminar examined ways of

  • developing the standing of forensic evidence within Iraqi law to enable it to serve as primary evidence;
  • strengthening the role of prosecutors regarding the collection of forensic evidence;
  • harmonizing the Law on Mass Graves, the Law on Forensics (amended 2013) concerning the Medical Legal Institute, and criminal procedure law;

Communication among All Stakeholders Is Essential in Accounting for the Missing

Participants at meetings organized this week by ICMP in Tuzla and Brcko – the first of a series of Town Hall meetings that will be held throughout the country during February – unanimously agreed that the book-length Stocktaking Report published by ICMP, which describes two decades of work on accounting for missing persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a valuable platform for further dialogue on missing persons issues based on documented facts.

“We find and we feel that the issue of missing persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been addressed by ICMP without any kind of discrimination,” Milja Mitrovic of the Bijeljina Association of Missing Persons and the RS Association of Missing Persons said at the conclusion of today’s meeting in Brcko. “The presentation of the Stocktaking Report reflects this.”

At both meetings, representatives of associations of families of missing persons, the BiH Missing Persons Institute, the BiH Prosecutor’s Office, and…

Libyan Experts Launch initiative to Address Missing Persons Issue

At a meeting in The Hague this week, senior officials and legal experts from Libya launched an initiative to strengthen the Libyan justice system’s capacity to address the issue of missing persons.

Participants at a seminar organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons on Monday and Tuesday and entitled “Criminal Procedure and the Use of Evidence in Court-led Processes on Mass Graves and Missing Persons in Libya,” focused on how to expand the use of forensic evidence in court-led processes, and on clarifying inter-institutional responsibilities and legal obligations to family members of the missing.

While considerable progress has been made in building the technical capacity of the Libyan authorities, there are crucial gaps in the institutional and legal framework that need to be addressed in order to locate and identify the missing.

Recent political instability and violence has made it difficult to address much-needed legal reforms in a conclusive way, in…

Former ICMP Director Named in Queen Elizabeth’s New Year’s Honors List

Adam Boys named in the United Kingdom’s New Year’s Honors List as an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire

12 January 2015: 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…

ICMP AGREEMENT: AN OVERVIEW

Introduction

15 December 2014 – 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…

Meeting the Challenge of Missing Persons: ICMP Becomes Treaty-Based International Organization

Desde México a Siria, una epidemia de casos de personas desaparecidas. Los gobiernos toman iniciativa para abordar el problema global, firmando el tratado de ICMP.

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…

ICMP Established as International Organization in its Own Right

15 December 2104: 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…

Memorializing the Missing of Bosnia and Herzegovina on International Human Rights Day

Members of the Forum on Joint Memorialization of Missing Persons hold silhouettes of missing persons Photo: Velija Hasanbegovic, Radio Sarajevo

10 December 2014: 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…

Syrian Commission for Transitional Justice Visits ICMP

Members of Syrian Transitional Justice Commisssion at ICMP

5 December 2014: 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…