Posts Categorized: Press Releases

Western Balkans representatives agree on steps forward in search for those who remain missing from 1990s conflicts

"The meeting in Priština, was part of a two-year project funded by the United Kingdom to support the work of ICMP and strengthen regional cooperation"

Priština 31 January 2020: At a meeting of the Missing Persons Group (MPG) this week, representatives for institutions responsible for missing persons issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia made key decisions on joint activities in 2020 that will contribute to accounting for persons who are still missing as a result of the 1990s conflicts in former Yugoslavia.

The decisions MPG made at the 30 January meeting in Priština, convened by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), include:

  • A series of bilateral meetings will be held to prioritise joint reconnaissance and excavation of potential locations of mass graves in 2020.
  • MPG members will liaise with ICMP regarding forensic examination and biological sampling of NN (unidentified) cases of human remains in order to facilitate DNA analysis for the purpose of identification of missing persons.
  • MPG will jointly mark the 2020 International Day of the Disappeared and issue…

Implementation of the BiH Law on Missing Persons must be expedited, say members of BiH Missing Persons Institute Advisory Board

Ana Bilic, QA/QC Manager and Deputy Head of the ICMP DNA laboratory, explain techniques used to find missing persons to BiH Missing Persons Institute (MPI) Advisory Board members Fikret Bacic, Amir Kulagic and Jela Mandic during a visit to the ICMP HQ in The Hague, Netherlands, this week.

The Hague 17 January 2020: Authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina must fully implement the provisions of the country’s missing persons law, representatives of the BiH Missing Persons Institute (MPI) Advisory Board emphasized during a visit this week to the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands.

Full implementation of the Law on Missing Persons, which was created in 2004 would require the establishment of a verified BiH Central Record of Missing Persons and the creation of the BiH Fund for Families of the Missing. The Fund would provide financial support to families of the missing, regardless of the national or religious origin of the relative of the missing person, or the circumstances of the disappearance of the missing person.

“We want to work together for all victims. We want government institutions to work together and take responsibility,” said MPI Advisory Board Member Amir Kulaglic. “We have had…

ICMP Welcomes Brazil Special Commission on Missing Persons to HQ in The Hague

The Hague, 20 December 2019: Mr. Marco Vinicius Pereira de Carvalho, President of the Brazil Special Commission on Political Dead and Missing Persons met with Director-General, Kathryne Bomberger of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the Director of ICMP’s Science and Technology Program, Dr. Thomas Parsons, to review steps made in identifying missing persons from the Perus Working Group.

Over the last two years, ICMP has assisted Brazil through cooperation with the Perus Working Group, which works to identify bodies that were interred in a clandestine mass grave in the Dom Bosco Cemetery in Perus, Sao Paulo, between 1971 and 1975, during the military government rule.  Over 700 cases have been examined and tested from this complex assemblage of human remains.  ICMP helped Brazil identify two high profile cases. The identifications are symbolically significant to families of the missing as they demonstrate the present government’s commitment to use…

ICMP Training Strengthens Iraq’s Ability to Process DNA Samples Related to Missing Persons

The Hague, 19 December 2019: As part of its support to Iraqi authorities in developing capacity to handle missing persons cases, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) this week trained the leaders of the DNA lab at Iraq’s Medico-Legal Directorate (MLD).

The head of the lab, Mr. Mohammed Mashni Farhan, and deputy lab head Dr. Salim Shabaan Mahmood, were trained on using an automated puncher that will enable their lab to more than double the number of samples it processes a day. The ICMP, recently donated such a puncher to MLD, one of the Iraq’s main national agencies that are responsible for addressing the missing persons issue.

His Excellency, Hisham al Alawi, Ambassador of Iraq, staff from the Iraqi Embassy in the Netherlands, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger and the ICMP Director of Science and Technology, Thomas Parsons, took part in the opening session of the training, which was supported by the European Union….

Colombian Families of the Missing Discuss Perspectives and Priorities During Visit to ICMP in The Hague

Bogotá, 17 December 2019. From 10 to 13 December in The Hague, the Netherlands, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) brought families of the missing from Colombia together with representatives of families from other countries, as well as experts working in the field of missing persons, for a series of events at which participants exchanged experiences and perspectives.

Fourteen family members from Colombia described the effort being made to address the enormous legacy of missing persons in the country, the work that organizations and families are doing and the challenges and needs faced by  civil society organizations that work  to account for the disappeared.

ICMP organized strategic and technical workshops on topics such as reporting missing persons, data processing, location and exhumation of clandestine graves, and DNA identification. The Hague-based non-profit organization Justice and Peace Netherlands held a course on security for human rights defenders for the visitors.

“These workshops were…

Profiles of the Missing from Colombia: Perspectives and Priorities of Families of the Disappeared 

The Hague, 11 December 2019 –  To mark this week’s celebration of International Human Rights Day, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) organized a “Profiles of the Missing” discussion in The Hague today on the effort now underway to address the huge legacy of missing persons in Colombia.  

As many as 120,000 people are missing from five decades of conflict in Colombia, and all sectors of society have been affected. Disappearances have been perpetrated by state actors, paramilitary and guerrilla groups, and organized crime. Today’s “Profiles of the Missing addressed the causes of the conflict, the impact of disappearances on society and the rule of law, and the central role that families of the missing can and must play in implementing key provisions of the 2016 Peace Agreement. 

Fourteen family members of missing persons and representatives of civil…

ICMP Expresses Condolences on the Death of Nedeljko Mitrovic

The Hague, 5 December 2019: On behalf of the Board of Commissioners and the staff of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), Director-General Kathryne Bomberger has expressed her condolences to the Republika Srpska Organization of Imprisoned and Killed Soldiers and Missing Civilians following the death of the long-time President of the organization, Nedeljko Mitrovic, on Thursday.

“Throughout the years, Nedeljko was one of the key partners in the process of accounting for the missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Ms. Bomberger said today. “He responded to his personal tragedy with a life-long pursuit of truth and justice for the victims.”

Nedeljko’s son Slaviša went missing on 13 September 1995 and his whereabouts are still unknown.

ICMP Facilitates Meeting of Domestic Authorities to Enhance Support for Yezidi Families of Missing Persons in Iraq

Erbil, 3 December 2019. The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the Commission for Investigation and Gathering Evidence (CIGE) held a seminar at the CIGE office in Duhok this week, which included the participation of representatives from both federal Iraqi government and Kurdistan Regional Government authorities: the Mass Graves Directorate of the Martyr’s Foundation, the Medico-Legal Directorate of the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Martyr’s and Anfal Affairs (KRG). The seminar aimed to update Yezidi families about the components of the missing persons process related to crimes committed by IS, including: phases of excavations in Kocho, reference sample collection, and civil society and family engagement with the Yezidi community throughout 2019.

Representatives of the international community including the European Union, and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq, GIZ, the German Consulate in Erbil attended the seminar in addition to national authorities, providing an opportunity to listen…

International Commission on Missing Persons Enhances Cooperation With International Organization for Migration

The Hague, 26 November 2019:  In Geneva today, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) was officially accredited as an Observer organization at the 110th Session of the Council of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Addressing the IOM Council, ICMP’s Missing Migrants Program Manager Alessandra La Vaccara pointed out that ICMP’s expertise complements and reinforces IOM’s efforts to uphold the human dignity and well-being of migrants. She said the enhanced partnership between the two organizations “will therefore advance the security and wellbeing of persons that we are mandated to help.”

Dr La Vaccara stressed that the issue of disappearances on migratory routes is an important facet of upholding human dignity and the rule of law, and she added that “as non-citizens and without a recognized status, migrants’ human rights are often unprotected and unfulfilled”.

On 8 March 2013, IOM and ICMP concluded a Cooperation Agreement. Since then, the issue of migrants…

The Netherlands Supports ICMP’s Work to Help Iraq Address Legacy of Largescale Missing Persons

The Hague, 22 November 2019: The Kingdom of The Netherlands has awarded funding to the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in the amount of 3 million Euro to continue its program to help Iraq create a sustainable process to find missing persons and to secure the rights of surviving families of the missing.

Iraq has a legacy of hundreds of thousands of missing persons from more than four decades of conflict and instability, including large numbers of missing from the regime of Saddam Hussein and Da’esh crimes.

“The goal is to continue to support the efforts of the Iraqi government and others to create a sustainable missing persons process that is based on the rule of law and that secures the rights of all families of the missing in an impartial manner,” the Head of ICMP’s Iraq Program, Rasa Ostrauskaite, said today. She said that, with Dutch help, ICMP will…