Posts Categorized: Press Releases

Colombia: Civil Society Organizations Begin Adding Missing Person Data to Pilot Repository

Colombian civil society representatives and ICMP staff during an online meeting focused on data governance and information sharing.

By Laura Manrique

Bogota, 14 August 2020: Six civil society organizations that cooperate with the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Colombia have agreed to take part in the creation of a pilot central data repository for information related to missing persons in Colombia, a key step that enables the organizations to strengthen their data collection processes and to ensure that they do not duplicate efforts.

All of the participating organizations – Funvides (Bogotá), Credhos (Barrancabermeja), Poderpaz (Cúcuta), CDR (Cali), Favidesc (Florencia) and Madres de la Candelaria (Medellín) – have been using ICMP Identification Data Management System (iDMS) to handle the data they have collected in a responsible, transparent, safe, effective and efficient way. Their participation in the pilot enables them to share information with each other, allowing for a more efficient data management process.

The organizations agreed to take part in the pilot during an ICMP meeting focused on data…

ICMP Signs Cooperation Agreements with Iraqi Institutions to Continue Support in Finding All Missing Persons

Zaid Ali Abbas, the Director General of Medico Legal Directorate of the Ministry of Health; Diaa Karim, Director General the Mass Grave Affairs and Protection Directorate of the Martyr’s Foundation, and Fawaz Abdulabbas, deputy head of ICMP in Iraq, sign cooperation agreements on 12 August 2020. Standing behind them are Health Minister Hassan Al-Tamimi, First Deputy Speaker Hassan Al Kabbai and the Head of Martyr’s Foundation, Kadem Awaid, who attended the ceremony to underline their support.

BAGDHAD 13 August 2020: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) this week signed cooperation agreements with the Mass Grave Affairs and Protection Directorate of the Martyr’s Foundation and the Medico Legal Directorate of the Ministry of Health and Environment, adding to an agreement signed with the Ministry of Justice in late July.

“The agreements affirm and strengthen our cooperation with ICMP,” said Hassan Al Kabbai, First Deputy Speaker in Iraq’s Parliament, who hosted the 12 August signing ceremony. “We look forward to the results our closer cooperation will bring – I will follow developments closely.”

ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said:

“The agreements form the basis of ICMP’s continued to support to Iraq in developing and implementing a sustainable strategy to account for all Iraq’s missing and disappeared persons in an impartial and transparent manner.”

Iraqi authorities estimate that 250,000 to 1 million persons are missing in the country. ICMP has worked with…

Online exhibition highlights advocacy material to help Syrian families of missing persons

The materials aim to make families of the many who have disappeared in the Syrian conflict aware of their rights, and what they can do to support a search for their missing relatives

By Yasmine Khalaf

28 July 2020: A collection of films and other advocacy material created by Syrian civil society organizations are featured in a new online exhibit organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

The materials aim to make families of the many who have disappeared in the Syrian conflict aware of their rights, and what they can do to support a search for their missing relatives. The 11 organizations created the products with support from the ICMP, which awarded them small grants to finance the projects and offered workshops and other support to help the organizations strengthen their skills.

“We have the right to know where they are,” a woman gazing straight into the camera says in one of the films, produced by the Syria Legal Network.

The title of online exhibit, “In Their Absence”, was inspired by a book collecting interviews by families of the missing on the challenges…

ICMP Welcomes Appointment of Members of the Lebanon National Commission for the Missing and Forcibly Disappeared

The Hague 17 July 2020: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) welcomes the appointment of the members of the Lebanon National Commission for the Missing and Forcibly Disappeared, who have been sworn in before the President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun.

“These appointments underline recognition of the importance of resolving the issue of missing persons as an opportunity to assert state responsibility, and thus  enhance confidence in public institutions on this issue,” said ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger. “As the only international organization working exclusively on the issue of missing persons, ICMP stands ready to support Lebanon’s efforts to address this issue in an effective and impartial way, and to help families of the missing to secure truth and justice.”

For years, family associations and civil society have worked to keep the missing persons issue in public view, and together with NGOs they have called on the authorities to launch…

ICMP, the Srebrenica Memorial and artist Šejla Kamerić, launch art project “Forensic Archive: From One Learn All”

The project highlights the notion of absence and the search for the missing, aiming to inform, educate and evoke emotions

10 July 2020: To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), the Srebrenica Memorial Center and BIH artist Šejla Kamerić launched an art project that casts light on the scientific process of finding and identifying war victims in a mission for truth and justice.

The project, titled Forensic Archive: From One Learn All will be developed in coming years and will feature a permanent exhibition at the Srebrenica Memorial and a digital platform. The installation projected on the walls of the Potocari Battery Factory – which houses the Srebrenica Memorial – on 8 and 9 July, ahead of the 11 July anniversary of the Genocide was generously supported by the Government of the United Kingdom and is a part of the launch of the project.

By using different media in a crossover between science and art, the project presents the scientific facts on the basis of…

ICMP begins work on guide to help families of Iraq’s missing; seeks input from civil society, families

ICMP Iraq Program Head Rasa Ostrauskaite (to the right) with Yezidi families of the missing and community leaders following consultations. Baadre, November 2019. Photo: ICMP/Ali Simoqy

Baghdad, Iraq, 15 June 2020: Relatives of the hundreds of thousands of persons missing in Iraq often face difficulties in finding reliable information on what they can do to ensure that the disappearances of their family members are investigated. To help them navigate what can be a complex, challenging and lengthy process, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is developing a guide to Iraq’s approach to account for missing persons.

ICMP has worked with the authorities in Iraq since 2005, supporting them in work to account for all missing persons, regardless of their sectarian or national background, or the period of time in which they disappeared. ICMP also helps Iraqi families of missing persons access their rights.

The ICMP Iraq guide will explain the missing persons process in Iraq and outline the various steps involved in searching for and identifying missing persons in the country. It will highlight the roles…

EU Special Representative Visits ICMP Project related to Identifying Srebrenica Genocide Victims

ICMP Senior Forensic Anthropologist Dragana Vucetic shows printout of an autopsy report to Ambassador Sattler and Mr. Holliday

By: Saša Kulukčija

Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 5 June 2020: The painstaking process of identifying victims of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide was the focus of a visit today by EU Special Representative Ambassador Johann Sattler, Head of the European Union Delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina to see the work of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

At the Podrinje Identification Project facility, Ambassador Sattler, who was accompanied by the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program, Matthew Holiday, observed work by ICMP staff to assist Bosnia and Herzegovina in identifying human remains from the genocide. Using DNA-based identification methods, ICMP has assisted in the identification of 7,000 of the more than 8,000 persons who were missing following the genocide. The work continues to find new mass and clandestine graves related to Srebrenica.

“With the EU’s financial and political support, ICMP will continue to help the BIH authorities to fulfill their obligations to…

Covid-19: ICMP adjust operations, continues work to help States account for the missing

The Hague – 23 March 2020: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has adapted is operations due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with most staff telecommuting as they work to ensure that the rights of missing persons and families are respected.  

Staff in the ICMP Headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands, and in programs around the world are mostly working from home, to reduce dissemination of the virus in line with instructions from local health authorities. Meetings and events that were planned for the immediate future have been postponed or shifted to a virtual format.  

“Accounting for the missing is an investment in peace and stability and an indispensable global commitment, even in these times,” said ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger. “We continue our work to ensure that states fulfil their responsibility to…

Mexican Scientists work on challenging missing persons cases in collaboration with ICMP 

The Hague, 20 March 2020: Three Mexican Forensic experts from the state of Nuevo Leon, working together with scientists from the International Commission on Missing Persons at the ICMP laboratory in The Hague, Netherlands, have successfully obtained DNA results from challenging post-mortem samples of missing persons.  The results were obtained as part of a scientific exchange during which the Mexican experts also strengthened their skills in DNA extraction and genetic testing methods.

The experts from the Institute of Criminalistics and Expert Services, of the Office of the Prosecutor General of the State of Nuevo Leon, explored novel methods to extract and analyze DNA from highly deteriorated skeletal remains during their 9-17 March visit to the ICMP headquarters, which includes a state-of-the-art, high-throughput DNA laboratory. The exchange, organized through the ICMP’s Wim Kok Center for Excellence and Learning, is part of a USAID-funded project the ICMP is implementing with the civil society…

ICMP supports Iraqi authorities in uncovering mass grave near Badoush Prison linked to 2014 Da’esh crimes

March 19, 2020 – The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is supporting Iraq’s National Team in fieldwork to locate and recover human remains and to document criminal evidence from a mass grave near the Badoush prison.

Forensic work at the site, where Da’esh allegedly massacred hundreds of prisoners in 2014, began 7 March. Experts from Iraq’s Mass Graves Directorate and Medico-Legal Directorate, supported by ICMP, mapped the area and recovered human remains of the site. The team suspended its work on 16 March following the Iraqi government’s decision to restrict movement to prevent the spread of the Corona virus. The site – a shallow ravine- is being safeguarded, and forensic work, including excavations, will resume when the situation allows.

“It is a complex site because the human remains are dispersed over a large area, but the work was going well until it had to be halted due to Covid-19,” said…