Posts Categorized: Press Releases

All elements of transitional justice must be included

9 December 2005: There must be a combination of approaches to providing the justice that is essential for societies in transition from periods of conflict, violence or human rights abuses, agreed participants at a conference on International Models of Transitional Justice organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) today in Sarajevo. The second day of the three-day conference focused on key elements of transitional justice – criminal justice, truth seeking, reparation and institutional reform – and the application of these justice mechanisms in the former Yugoslavia.

“Criminal justice has not to date fulfilled all the requisite needs of societies in transitions,” said ICMP Government Relations Director Jeffrey Buenger at the conference. “Victims have a right to know the truth, a right to justice and right to reparations.”

Criminal justice in the form of prosecutions of indicted war criminals was an important part of the overall process, agreed conference participants,…

Victims Groups Call for Compensation and Arrest of War Criminals

8 December 2005: On the opening day of a three-day conference on International Models of Transitional Justice organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Sarajevo on Thursday, participants discussed different approaches to providing justice for victims of conflict, genocide and human rights violations, from Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Europe.Experts and victims’ representatives from around the world and participants from the former Yugoslavia grappled with issues that are central to the discussion of transitional justice, including issues such as peace versus justice – when arrests and trials can destabilize a fragile peace; the frequent impossibility of prosecuting all criminals in cases of mass violations of human rights; the cost of trials and the length of time it takes for prosecutions; reparations to victims; the responsibility of governments and the role of the international community; truth commissions; and the effectiveness of mechanisms of transitional justice…

ICMP Launches Campaign to Reach Family Members of Kosovo Missing

29 November 2005: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is launching a major media campaign this week to encourage family members of persons missing as a result of the conflict in Kosovo to donate blood samples for DNA-led identifications.ICMP Chief of Staff Kathryne Bomberger unveiled ICMP’s television, radio and newspaper advertisements to the media at a press conference on Sunday in Pristina. All the advertisements, as well as posters, have been produced in both Albanian and Serbian languages; they will be carried by media in Kosovo and Serbia proper from this week.

ICMP is focusing on family members of the missing in its campaign; in the television advertisements, mothers of sons who went missing during the conflict say that by giving a blood sample, they have done everything they can to find their missing sons. The central theme of the campaign is the question “Have you done everything you…

Italian Contribution to ICMP DNA Laboratories

25 November 2005: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) will receive a 50,000 Euro contribution from the Government of Italy. The Italian contribution is earmarked for ICMP’s standard setting work in making DNA identifications and they will directly fund ICMP’s DNA laboratory work. By making this contribution, Italy will join the group of countries and organizations supporting the work of ICMP, thus bringing the total number of sponsoring governments to 15.The ICMP incorporates the use of DNA as a primary tool in post-conflict identifications; this method requires the collection and profiling of DNA from blood samples donated by family members with missing relatives for matching with DNA extracted from bone samples taken from recovered mortal remains. The DNA match report generated by ICMP is given to court appointed forensic experts to make final, legal binding identifications, thus assisting governments in bringing closure to families of the missing regarding…

ICMP to Collect Blood Samples

18 November 2005: Blood collection teams from the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) will be visiting the United States from November 29 to December 14 to collect blood samples from family members of persons missing from the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. This visit will be the first ICMP blood collection campaign in North America and will focus on twelve states.

Out of the estimated 30,000 persons who went missing during the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina that ended by the signing of the Dayton Peace Agreement, there still are between 15,000 to 20,000 persons to be found. ICMP will also be collecting blood samples from persons with missing relatives from other parts of the region, including from persons affected by the conflict in Kosovo.

The blood samples are needed for DNA identification of remains found in grave sites across the former Yugoslavia. Since the year 2000, ICMP has collected…

Resolving the Fate of Missing Persons: A Prerequisite for European Integration

13 November 2005: Associations of Families of Missing Persons called today on governments in the former Yugoslavia to fulfill their responsibility to resolve the fate of persons missing as a result of the conflicts there during the 1990s and to ensure that the rights of surviving relatives are protected. At the conclusion of a three-day Regional Conference of family members of the missing in Novi Sad, northern Serbia, organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), participants expressed unity in their determination to work in partnership with all responsible bodies to resolve the missing persons issue as quickly as possible.Participants at the conference, who included family members of the missing of all main ethnic groups from Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, agreed to send a message to the European Commission that resolving the issue of missing…

DNA analysis: Only Way in Identification Process

12 November 2005: Family members of persons missing from the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia agreed today that a DNA-based identification process is the only way to identify mortal remains of missing persons recovered years after the end of hostilities. The family members of the missing, from all ethnic groups across the former Yugoslavia, were discussing the progress to date in the identification process today, on the second day of a three-day regional conference organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Novi Sad, northern Serbia and Montenegro.Regional experts in the identification of mortal remains explained the process of identification to conference participants and the vital role played by DNA in that process. ICMP pioneered the use of DNA as the first step in identifying large numbers of persons, and has found more than 8,500 matches between mortal remains and family members of the missing in the…

10 Years after Dayton: Governments Must Do More for Families of the Missing

11 November 2005: Ten years after the Dayton Peace Agreement ended hostilities in the former Yugoslavia, representatives of families of persons who went missing during the conflict, from all ethnic groups, sat down with government authorities today and urged them to do more to release information on the fate of their loved ones.The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is hosting this three-day conference in Novi Sad, in northern Serbia and Montenegro, to facilitate dialogue between regional government officials, representatives of the international community and missing persons family associations.

On the first day of the conference, Rasim Ljajic, the Minister for Human and Minority Rights of Serbia and Montenegro, announced that his Government would draft a law designed to address the issue of missing persons. This law, he said, would be based on the model of the Law on Missing Persons that was adopted in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2004. The Law…

Senior Deputy High Representative Visits ICMP in Tuzla

10 November 2005: Senior Deputy High Representative Martin Ney said he was deeply moved by the work of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) after he visited the organization’s Podrinje Identification Project in Tuzla on Thursday morning.More than 3,000 body-bags containing mortal remains recovered from grave sites associated with the 1995 fall of Srebrenica are stored at the facility. Identification of Srebrenica-related remains is difficult because of the large number of victims, the time that has passed and because the bodies were severely damaged when they were moved and re-buried in “secondary” mass graves by the perpetrators in an effort to hide evidence of the killings.

The Podrinje Identification Project, named after the River Drina basin in which Srebrenica victims were buried, was established in 1999 as a facility to store and examine the remains. When ICMP’s DNA matching has indicated the identity of a missing Srebrenica victim, the…

Families of Missing Persons from Across the Former Yugoslavia to Discuss Common Issues

8 November 2005: Common problems faced by family members of all ethnic groups across the former Yugoslavia will be highlighted at the Eighth Regional Networking Conference on Missing Persons Issues, organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), from Friday, 11 November, to Sunday, 13 November, 2005 in Novi Sad, Serbia and Monte Negro.
Some 40,000 persons are believed to have gone missing in the conflicts during the 1990s in the former Yugoslavia. Approximately 20,000 are still unaccounted for. Families of missing persons, regardless of their ethnic background, are facing uncertainty over the fate of their loved ones and many practical problems as a result of their status.
ICMP advocates on behalf of family members and works with associations of family members of the missing to develop networks and provide training that will strengthen them and help them advocate on their own behalf. ICMP has been organizing Regional Conferences on…