Daily World News Digest, 1 April 2016

How DNA profiling helped unravel the horror of Bosnia’s genocide

The New Scientist magazine carries an article by Thomas Parsons, ICMP’s Director of Forensic Sciences, commenting on the 40-year sentence handed down by the ICTY in the case of Radovan Karadzic. Dr Parsons notes that identifying victims was a crucial part of ensuring that justice was done. Forensic work connected with the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina became the largest DNA identification project ever undertaken. Advanced profiling techniques and a DNA database enabled identifications that would have been impossible otherwise and allowed scientific data to be used as evidence, restarting a stalled identification process that had reached its limit using traditional means. War criminals such as Karadzic now face legal mechanisms that can turn to rigorous scientific methods for pursuing justice. http://bit.ly/1UH4w4Q

Korean War remains returned from South Korea

The BBC reported on 31 March that more than 60 years after the end of the Korean War, the remains of 36 Chinese soldiers who died fighting against South Korea are being returned home. The remains were excavated from graves in Paju, near the North Korean border, last year. It is the third repatriation since a 2014 agreement between the two countries, as relations improve. Scientists work to identify them by analyzing uniforms or ammunition, but often fail to put a name to the fallen soldier. Tens of thousands more are listed as missing and both Koreas still conduct searches for soldiers’ remains, periodically returning the foreign soldier’s remains. http://bbc.in/1SDSyoW

Ukraine seeks release of 120 people held by militants in eastern Ukraine

Interfax, a Ukrainian news agency, reported on 31 March that one hundred and twenty people are still held in by militants in captivity in Donbas, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said. “After months of negotiations, we still cannot free more than 120 Ukrainians from captivity in Donbas,” the president said at the ‘Ukraine’s Battle for Freedom Continues’ forum in Washington on Thursday. According to him, the International Committee of the Red Cross is banned from visiting them and is prohibited from searing for about 800 missing persons. http://bit.ly/1MYuRTN

Burundi: Lawyer slams attorney general’s warning to families not to submit evidence to ICC

International Business Times reported on 31 March that days after 60 Burundian families appealed to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and High Commissioner for Human Rights to investigate alleged crimes against humanity committed in Burundi, the nation’s Attorney General has called on families of victims of alleged extra-judicial executions to provide evidence for investigations, warning them not to submit it to the ICC. Bernard Maingain, one of the three lawyers who have already written to the ICC and the High Commissioner for Human Rights, highlighted that families want to work with professionals and independent investigators. http://bit.ly/1SDZmTv

El Salvador’s gangs offered a truce — and the government declared war

Vice News reported on 31 March that it’s been a bloody year for El Salvador. An ongoing war between two powerful street gangs has given the tiny Central American nation the highest murder rate in the Western Hemisphere. Late last week, the rival gangs, known as pandillas, offered to halt the killings in exchange for concessions from the government, but authorities have instead decided to take the fight against the gangs. At least 6,657 people were murdered in El Salvador last year, including 63 police officers. The gangs previously agreed to a truce in 2012, and murders fell by 40 percent nationwide in nine months. Extortion and other crimes reportedly continued, however, and the discovery of mass graves suggested that the killings may have simply continued clandestinely. http://bit.ly/1UGWU2t

Radovan Karadzic is in prison – but Bosnia’s future is still in jeopardy

The New Statesman, a British magazine, carried a story on 31 March saying that in the first few months of 1996, the international community in Tuzla was slowly beginning to understand the scale of events in Srebrenica and surrounding municipalities; slowly beginning to realize just how the actions of UN peacekeepers had facilitated the massacre. Now, with the sentencing of Radovan Karadzic some twenty years later, the story of Srebrenica has finally been given the full authority of history. In 2016, a UNHCR report noted there are still 85,000 displaced people unable to return to their houses because of the social, cultural and economic conditions of the villages and towns in which they once lived. The enmity, as well as the poverty in Bosnia remains. http://bit.ly/21VPkzD

Items in Daily World News Digest are summaries of published reports relevant to the issue of missing persons, compiled by ICMP staff.  These items do not necessarily reflect the position of ICMP.