Posts Categorized: Press Releases

Iraq Seeks to Enhance Efforts to Find Missing Persons, including through Coordination of the Missing Persons Process by the Ministry of Justice

Erbil, Iraq, 23 May 2024 – Senior representatives of the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), members of the Iraqi parliament, representatives of key Iraqi institutions responsible for accounting for missing persons, and Iraqi NGOs have concluded two days of discussion on implementing an effective, long-term missing persons strategy. The conference held in Erbil was facilitated by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and was chaired by Iraq’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Planning, Ambassador Dr. Hisham Al-Alawi.

The conference in Erbil was part of a series of meetings aimed at enhancing Iraq’s missing persons strategy. During the first meeting in The Hague in 2021, participants agreed among other items to develop a central record of all missing persons, ensure accountability for perpetrators of crimes linked to missing persons and secure the rights of families of the missing.

During this week’s meeting, consensus was reached on the…

ICMP Welcomes the adoption of the Resolution ‘International Day of Reflection and Commemoration of the Genocide in Srebrenica 1995’

The Hague, 23 May 2024: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) commends and welcomes the adoption of the Resolution ‘International Day of Reflection and Commemoration of the Genocide in Srebrenica 1995’ by the United Nations General Assembly. This solemn decision represents a significant milestone in acknowledging and honoring the memory of the victims and survivors of the Srebrenica Genocide.

For almost 30 years, ICMP has been dedicated to addressing the issue of persons missing as a result of armed conflicts, human rights abuses, and other causes, including Srebrenica Genocide. Our efforts have always been, and still are driven by a deep commitment to uphold the rights of surviving families to truth and justice.

The locating and identifying of the victims of Srebrenica Genocide has been a painstaking and scientifically rigorous process. Utilizing advanced forensic techniques, including DNA analysis, anthropological examination, and forensic pathology, ICMP forensic experts have worked tirelessly to…

Missing Persons Group enhances efforts to account for the remaining missing persons

Sarajevo 16 May 2024: The Missing Persons Group (MPG), established at the Western Balkans Berlin Process summit in London, as a group of institutions tasked with resolving the issue of missing persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia presented its efforts and achievements to date outlining the importance of the regional cooperation in resolving the remaining missing persons cases in the countries of former Yugoslavia.

“In the Western Balkans, roughly 75 percent of the 40,000 persons reported missing during the conflicts of the 1990s have been accounted for. Regional cooperation has been a cornerstone of this unprecedented result. Continued and enhanced work of the MPG together with families of the missing is crucial in resolving the remaining missing persons cases and upholding the rights of the families to truth and justice”, said Matthew Holliday, ICMP Program Director, Europe.

“The UK Government is committed to supporting efforts to identify…

Missing Persons in Ukraine: Lessons from Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo, 26 April 2024 – A group of family representatives and civil society activists from Ukraine have completed a week-long visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH) hosted by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). The visit is part of a program to support the development of an effective system to account for tens of thousands of people who are missing as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The study visit included meetings with officials from the BIH Missing Persons Institute, the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees, and the War Crimes Prosecutor’s Office.

“ICMP is committed to helping Ukrainian civil society to build a sustainable process to locate all missing persons and investigate their disappearance and secure the rights of all families to truth, justice, and reparations,” said Matthew Holliday, ICMP Program Director Europe, noting that strategies that have succeeded in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Western Balkans can…

Immediate Action Must be Taken to Protect Mass Graves in Gaza

The Hague, 24 April 2024: The UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) and major international media this week reported the discovery of mass graves at the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, central Gaza, and the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

Mass graves contain critical evidence for establishing the truth about events that have taken place. Proper investigations must adhere to rigorous scientific and judicial standards, ensuring that forensic processes – including forensic archaeology and anthropology – are meticulously implemented to recover and document human remains and evidence. In cases where war crimes have been committed, these processes make it possible to bring perpetrators to justice.

Immediate measures must be taken to protect and document locations where mass graves have been reported in Gaza. The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) stands ready to support all efforts to protect and investigate mass graves and reliably identify human remains.

Accounting for the missing is an…

Families of the Missing from former Yugoslavia Urge Regional Governments And the International Community to Maintain Their Support

The Hague, 19 April 2024 – This week at the Headquarters of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in The Hague, associations of families of the missing from the Western Balkans, together with ICMP, organized an extraordinary session of the Forum of the Families (FoF).

Participants reflected on progress that has been made in implementing the Framework Plan agreed in November 2018 by the responsible institutions from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia to boost cooperation and increase effectiveness in accounting for missing persons throughout the region; and they made preparations for future activities, including raising awareness among regional and international stakeholders on the urgent need to maintain efforts to account for the remaining missing persons.

Participants expressed concern that current political dynamics in the Western Balkans are hindering the work of the Missing Persons Group (MPG), which comprises domestic institutions from the region that work on this…

ICMP and Partners in Vietnam Launch ODA Project Improving the Capability of Identification of Human Remains from War

Hanoi, 12 April 2024: The Institute of Biotechnology-Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (IBT-VAST), in coordination with the International Commissions on Missing Persons (ICMP), has launched an ODA project to improve Vietnam’s capacity to identify human remains from war. The two-year project is supported with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

ICMP will help IBT-VAST to develop advanced DNA extraction methods and Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology to extract DNA profiles from highly degraded bone samples in Vietnam. These methods will be supported by data analysis tools, with the goal of establishing an automated system to process a large number of samples. The project is part of the cooperation framework between the Governments of Vietnam and the United States to overcome the consequences of war, as specified in a Memorandum of Intention (MOI) signed by USAID and the Vietnam Agency for Seeking Missing Persons (VNOSMP) in…

ICMP Visits Canada and Releases Interim Report

21 March 2024, Ottawa, Unceded Algonquin Territory, Ontario: Canada can take effective steps to support First Nations, Metis, and Inuit rights holders as they seek justice and accountability for the death or disappearance of children in the former Indian Residential School System, Kathryne Bomberger, the Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), said today.

Ms Bomberger was speaking at the presentation of an Interim Report on the work of ICMP’s program to help Indigenous communities in Canada find their missing children. She said ICMP can assist the stakeholders “in a process to establish the fate and whereabouts of children who went missing, and work with families and Canadian authorities to secure truth and justice, which are a prerequisite for reconciliation.”

The Interim Report on Missing Children and Unmarked Burials covers work carried out by ICMP in Canada between January 2023 and March 2024 and recommends next steps. The…

Countries in the Middle East Can Account for More Missing Persons By Sharing Experience and Best Practice

The Hague, 1 March 2024: Representatives of ambassadors from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) gathered in The Hague today at a meeting facilitated by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), to address the issue of missing persons in the region.

Chaired by Iraq’s Deputy Foreign Minister on Political Planning Affairs, Dr. Hisham Al-Alawi, the informal meeting was held in preparation for a Middle East and North Africa regional experts’ meeting on missing persons, which ICMP intends to facilitate in Iraq later in 2024.

Participants were briefed on the upcoming event in Baghdad, the objective of which is to advance cooperation on the issue of the missing among countries in the MENA region by sharing experience and best practice.

Dr. Al-Alawi, a member of ICMP’s Panel of Experts, thanked Germany and the Netherlands for supporting ICMP’s work, and stressed that the planned experts’ conference can support cooperation on an issue…

Tens of Thousands are Missing From the War Two Years On, the Case for Assisting Ukraine Is Stronger than Ever

Photo Credit: Krysja

Marking the second anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Commissioners and Director-General of the International Commission on Missing persons issued the following statement:

24 February 2024Tens of thousands of people have disappeared as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Men and women have gone missing on the battlefield and in the mass movement of citizens in the spring of 2022; civilians have disappeared in the rubble of towns fought over to the point of complete destruction; victims of arbitrary arrest in occupied territory are unaccounted for, and children have been illegally deported and adopted under opaque circumstances by families in Russia.

Ukraine has recognized that accounting for the missing is an essential part of upholding the rule of law. It has done this at a time when it is facing an existential threat. That the country is pursuing a law-based strategy to account for its…