Posts Categorized: News

20 Years Ago Today ICMP Issued First DNA Match to Support Identifying Tens of Thousands Missing from the Former-Yugoslav Conflicts

The Hague, 16 November 2021: – On this day, 20 years ago, ICMP issued its first DNA match report. As a result of this report, the body of a 15-year old boy who had disappeared at Srebrenica was identified. This marked the start of a revolutionary new process using advanced database and DNA technology to identify large numbers of persons missing from armed conflict and human rights abuses.

“Working with families of the missing and governments in the Western Balkans, ICMP became the first organization to successfully implement a population-based, DNA-led identification process in a post-conflict environment. The use of DNA not only increased the speed of identifications, but also provided irrefutable evidence of a person’s identity that could be linked back to the original crime scene,” said Kathryne Bomberger, Director-General of ICMP.  “This process has enabled families of the missing to secure their rights to truth and justice and…

ICMP-Facilitated Syrian Policy Coordination Group on Missing and Detained persons Finalizes Constitutional Principles on Syria’s Missing

The Hague, 11 November 2021 – The Policy Coordination Group (PCG), a Syrian-led initiative on the missing and disappeared facilitated by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), today finalized a draft paper on proposed constitutional principles related to Syria’s missing.

The constitutional principles not only address the legacy of systematic human rights violations in Syria, including the widespread practice of enforced disappearance, but also the need to establish rights-based guarantees to protect all persons from going missing or from being disappeared. The paper is divided into provisions directly related to the issue of missing persons, such as rights related to the dignity of life, safeguards against the deprivation of liberty, and transitional justice measures, and provisions indirectly linked to the issue that support a political transition based on the rule of law and the separation of powers.

Today’s virtual meeting was the fifth session of the PCG since it was…

ICMP Expresses Condolences on the Death of Hajra Catic

The Hague, 10 November 2021: The Commissioners and staff of the International Commission on Missing Persons have expressed their condolences to the Association of Women of Srebrenica following the death of the Association’s President, Hajra Catic.

“Hajra was a fighter. She courageously sought justice for Srebrenica genocide survivors and for all families of the missing. Sadly, her son Nino, a journalist, was never found. We honor her and other survivors and will continue to make every effort to find the remaining victims”, ICMP Director General Kathryne Bomberger said.

Since 2001, when it introduced mass DNA matching, ICMP has helped to identify around 7,000 of the approximately 8,000 genocide victims and is closely working with BIH authorities to account for those who remain missing.

ICMP Facilitated Syria Policy Coordination Group Recommends Constitutional Provisions For Missing and Disappeared Persons

The Hague, 5 October 2021: Members of the Policy Coordination Group (PCG) for Missing and Disappeared Persons in Syria have recommended adoption of a set of provisions in a future Syrian constitution to enable a sustainable and just process to account for more than 100,000 persons missing from the on-going conflict.

These recommendations include guarantees related to the right to a fair trial, protection of the physical and mental integrity of those under detention or arrest, reform of the security services, the independence of the judiciary, and transitional justice measures, including the establishment of a Syrian Commission on Missing Persons and purpose specific legislation designed to secure the rights of relatives of the missing to just, truth and reparations.

The PCG is a Syrian-led policy process composed of 27 Syrian family associations, civil society organizations, and legal and human rights defenders as well as international advisors. The PCG aims to develop broad…

Sweden Provides Support to ICMP’s Global Work

The Hague, 4 October 2021: – In its continuing support to the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden has donated SEK 2 million (€200,000) to help address the global challenge of missing and disappeared persons. Sweden is a member of ICMP’s Conference of States Parties and an original signatory state of the ICMP Treaty.

“Today, across Latin America, in the Mediterranean, and across South and Southeast Asia, tens of thousands of people are missing as a result of irregular migration. More than 100,000 people have disappeared from the conflict in Syria, inside the country or on dangerous routes taken by desperate Syrian refugee, and thousands are reported missing as a result of the enforced disappearance and mass displacement of Rohingya from northern Myanmar,” said Rolf Ekeus, ICMP Commissioner. “Countries such as Iraq, Sri Lanka, Burundi, Rwanda, and Vietnam are striving to address a…

OECD Designates ICMP as Fully ODA-Eligible

The Hague, 16 September 2021 – On 31 August 2021, the 30 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) unanimously approved the inclusion of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in the list of multilateral organizations which can receive funding under Official Development Assistance (ODA) programs.

ODA is government aid designed to promote the economic growth of developing countries and may be provided bilaterally or channeled through the United Nations or other multilateral organizations approved by the DAC. Donors can now report their funding for ICMP, including funding for ICMP’s Headquarter-based Main Program, as ODA. Funding for ICMP, including its Main Program, will count towards donors’ overall targets for annual official government aid and will no longer be classified as being outside the donor’s overall ODA targets. ODA-eligibility removes a significant impediment to making ICMP’s Main Program, which includes specialized, centralized capabilities…

Germany’s Support Enables ICMP To Implement Its Global Mandate

The Hague, 16 September 2021 – The new German Ambassador to the Netherlands, H.E. Cyrill Nunn, visited the Headquarters of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in The Hague today.

Germany has been a long-time supporter of ICMP and in May this year Germany acceded to the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the ICMP, becoming the Treaty’s ninth State Party.

Speaking during his visit, Ambassador Nunn noted that “ICMP’s programs around the world, including those related to missing persons from the conflicts in Iraq and Syria, contribute to multilateral efforts to stabilize volatile countries and support peace-building.”

ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said Germany’s support for ICMP’s programs, at Headquarters and globally, has enabled the organization to implement its mandate effectively. “Germany has been a key partner in our work to ensure that States uphold their responsibility to locate all missing persons and investigate the circumstances of their disappearance regardless of…

Iraqi Authorities Conclude Strategic Meeting on Accounting for the Missing With Broad Consensus on the Way Forward

The Hague, 1 September 2021 – Iraqi government institutions today concluded a three-day strategic meeting in The Hague titled, “Missing Persons in Iraq: The Way Forward”.  The meeting hosted by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), a treaty-based intergovernmental organization, included senior representatives from Iraqi and Kurdish ministries, foundations and parliament whose work is relevant to finding the missing.  The first day of the conference coincided with the International Day of the Disappeared.

“This meeting concluded with broad consensus on a five-year strategy that would result in enhancing Iraqi efforts to find all missing persons, regardless of their sectarian or national background and the timeframe or circumstances of their disappearance,” ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said today.

Hassan Al-Kaabi, who is the First Deputy Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament and who led the delegation, expressed his quest to secure adequate funding from the state budget for a comprehensive five-year strategy. “ICMP…

The Policy Coordination Group Launches an Ethical Charter On Data Collection and Documentation of Syria’s Missing  

The Hague, 30 August 2021 – The Policy Coordination Group (PCG) for Syria’s Missing and Disappeared Persons, with the support of the Syria/MENA Program of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), published an Ethical Charter on the standards and codes of conduct to be followed during data collection and documentation of missing persons in a virtual event today.

The Ethical Charter prioritizes the rights of victims and advances 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. It also establishes a set of principles to guide data collection and documentation and support best practices. Some of these principles are already…

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…