Posts Categorized: News

Memorialization a Key Element in Dialogue Over Missing Persons

Nicolas Moll in ICMP HQ in Sarajevo

Memorialization is a key element in any public dialogue over missing persons, Dr Nicolas Moll said during a seminar held at the International Commission on Missing Persons in Sarajevo in November. He stressed that the location, design and wording of memorials pose complex challenges to societies seeking to heal wounds arising from conflict and human rights violations.

“Until the nineteenth century, memorialization tended to be focused on monarchs and military victories,” Dr Moll said. “Even in the nineteenth century the names of soldiers were not important but this changed with World War One, when individual names – including the names of the missing – became important.”

Dr Moll cited the Thiepval Memorial in Northern France, which lists the names of more than 72,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers whose remains were never identified following the Battle of the Somme in 1916.

The period immediately after World War One saw a huge surge in memorialization, and the…

Transparency, Accountability and the Battle for Justice

Sister Conseulo Morales addresses CADHAC supporters.

CADHAC, a campaigning Mexican human rights group, has been short-listed for the prestigious annual Tulip Human Rights Award.

Citizens in Support for Human Rights (Ciudadanos en Apoyo a los Derechos Humanos – CADHAC), was founded in 1993 in the state of Nuevo León in Northeastern Mexico. Its activities have focused on helping people who have been wrongfully imprisoned, and families of the disappeared.

CADHAC has developed an innovative operating method that brings together families of victims, civil society and the authorities.

“Collaborative work makes the difference in CADHAC’s approach,” said CADHAC Director Sister Consuelo Morales. “All the actors – families of victims, authorities and organized civil society – working together in this mechanism of transparency, accountability and battle for justice are an exceptional example of collaborative practice. In a country like Mexico, civil society does not tend to trust the authorities and the authorities do not usually work or interact with civil…

A Global Response to a Global Challenge

Chilean Servicio Médico Legal experts meet staff at ICMP HQ.

1 October 2014: Two forensic experts from the Government of Chile have completed a three-day fact-finding visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, including meetings with staff at the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). The visit reflects the emergence of a global response to the global challenge of missing persons, in which ICMP is playing a leading role.

The Servicio Médico Legal (SML) is the lead agency in identifying several thousand people who went missing in Chile during the period of military rule from 1973 to 1990. The Chilean authorities have adopted a systematic and law-based approach to finding the missing and to addressing the social tensions created by past human rights violations.

ICMP has been cooperating with the SML since 2008, providing DNA testing of 2,432 reference blood samples and 194 post-mortem samples from missing persons, and offering technical advice on DNA matching.

The visit by SML forensic experts Macarena Arias and…

ICMP Declaration signing video

In an historic event hosted by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Bakir Izetbegović, President of the Republic of Croatia Ivo Josipović, President of Montenegro Filip Vujanović and President of the Republic of Serbia Tomislav Nikolić signed a “Declaration on the Role of the State in Addressing the Issue of Persons Missing as a Consequence of Armed Conflict and Human Rights Abuses”. The signing event took place in in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 29 August, 2014, on the eve of the International Day of the Disappeared.

Hear the statements of the event’s participants and see the signing ceremony in the video below.

ICMP releases key report on Colombia’s Missing

Map of ColombiaICMP report provides overview of the problem and important recommendations to Colombia

21 October 2008: The report, entitled Colombia’s Response to Enforced Disappearances, examines Colombia’s efforts to confront the problem of thousands of cases of enforced disappearance through analyzing its work in searching for and identifying victims, including the institutional and procedural mechanisms established for that purpose, the technical processes employed and the work undertaken directly with the victims, as they were at the close of the assessment (March 2008). Further, the report contains a list of precise recommendations that, if implemented, should further enhance different aspects of the search and identification process in Colombia.

One of the many tragic consequences of Colombia’s internal armed conflict has been the enforced disappearance of many thousands of people. In cases of enforced disappearance,…