International Day of the Disappeared: ICMP and Iraqi Partners Launch Strategic Policy Event

The Hague, 30 August 2021 – The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), together with Iraqi partners, today launched a strategic policy meeting on “Missing Persons in Iraq: The Way Forward”. The objective of the three-day meeting, initiated on the occasion of the International Day of the Disappeared, is to enhance Iraqi efforts to account for all missing persons, regardless of sectarian, or national background or the time period, location, or circumstances of their disappearance.

“This meeting in The Hague brings together government representatives from across Iraq, including representatives from ministries and institutions that have particular responsibility for this issue. The object is to develop a joint strategy to account for missing persons and to secure the rights of all families of the missing,” ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said at the opening of today’s meeting.

The event will focus on a multi-pronged strategy that includes the creation of a centralized Iraqi…

Greek Minister for Migration Hosts Third ICMP-Facilitated Discussion On Missing Migrants in the Mediterranean with Cyprus, Italy and Malta

19 November 2021: Representatives of Cyprus, Greece, Italy, and Malta participated today in the third meeting of the Joint Process, facilitated by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) at the Ministry of Migration and Asylum of Greece in Athens, to discuss the way forward in the effort to account for missing migrants and refugees in the Mediterranean region. Since the beginning of 2014, more than 23,000 people have died or gone missing attempting to reach Europe.

At a meeting convened by ICMP in Rome in June 2018, the same four European Mediterranean countries launched a Joint Process to expand cooperation and enhance domestic capabilities to account for missing migrants and refugees. The four countries agreed to work with ICMP to assess their investigatory capacities, to propose strategies to redress possible shortcomings, and to enhance cooperation.

Speaking at today’s meeting, Greece’s Minister for Migration and Asylum, Notis Mitarachi, said the Joint Process should be extended to more Mediterranean…

20 Years Ago Today ICMP Issued First DNA Match to Support Identifying Tens of Thousands Missing from the Former-Yugoslav Conflicts

The Hague, 16 November 2021: – On this day, 20 years ago, ICMP issued its first DNA match report. As a result of this report, the body of a 15-year old boy who had disappeared at Srebrenica was identified. This marked the start of a revolutionary new process using advanced database and DNA technology to identify large numbers of persons missing from armed conflict and human rights abuses.

“Working with families of the missing and governments in the Western Balkans, ICMP became the first organization to successfully implement a population-based, DNA-led identification process in a post-conflict environment. The use of DNA not only increased the speed of identifications, but also provided irrefutable evidence of a person’s identity that could be linked back to the original crime scene,” said Kathryne Bomberger, Director-General of ICMP.  “This process has enabled families of the missing to secure their rights to truth and justice and…

ICMP-Facilitated Syrian Policy Coordination Group on Missing and Detained persons Finalizes Constitutional Principles on Syria’s Missing

The Hague, 11 November 2021 – The Policy Coordination Group (PCG), a Syrian-led initiative on the missing and disappeared facilitated by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), today finalized a draft paper on proposed constitutional principles related to Syria’s missing.

The constitutional principles not only address the legacy of systematic human rights violations in Syria, including the widespread practice of enforced disappearance, but also the need to establish rights-based guarantees to protect all persons from going missing or from being disappeared. The paper is divided into provisions directly related to the issue of missing persons, such as rights related to the dignity of life, safeguards against the deprivation of liberty, and transitional justice measures, and provisions indirectly linked to the issue that support a political transition based on the rule of law and the separation of powers.

Today’s virtual meeting was the fifth session of the PCG since it was…

ICMP Expresses Condolences on the Death of Hajra Catic

The Hague, 10 November 2021: The Commissioners and staff of the International Commission on Missing Persons have expressed their condolences to the Association of Women of Srebrenica following the death of the Association’s President, Hajra Catic.

“Hajra was a fighter. She courageously sought justice for Srebrenica genocide survivors and for all families of the missing. Sadly, her son Nino, a journalist, was never found. We honor her and other survivors and will continue to make every effort to find the remaining victims”, ICMP Director General Kathryne Bomberger said.

Since 2001, when it introduced mass DNA matching, ICMP has helped to identify around 7,000 of the approximately 8,000 genocide victims and is closely working with BIH authorities to account for those who remain missing.

ICMP Publishes an Overview of Efforts to Account for Missing Persons in Croatia

22 October 2021 – The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) presented a detailed account of progress in accounting for those who went missing during the conflict in Croatia, together with recommendations on how more progress can be achieved.

The report Croatia, Missing Persons from the 1991-1995 Armed Conflict: A Stocktaking published today considers the rights of victims and examines the roles of institutions involved in the process. It analyses how the issue of the missing, including in relation to justice, has been addressed to date, and it examines prospects for resolving the remaining cases.

“After the 1990s conflict, Croatia and other countries in the region have managed to account for an unprecedented number of missing persons, with the ICMP assistance. It is important to continue the efforts to locate and identify the remaining missing in line with the rule of law in order to secure the rights of all…

ICMP Facilitated Syria Policy Coordination Group Recommends Constitutional Provisions For Missing and Disappeared Persons

The Hague, 5 October 2021: Members of the Policy Coordination Group (PCG) for Missing and Disappeared Persons in Syria have recommended adoption of a set of provisions in a future Syrian constitution to enable a sustainable and just process to account for more than 100,000 persons missing from the on-going conflict.

These recommendations include guarantees related to the right to a fair trial, protection of the physical and mental integrity of those under detention or arrest, reform of the security services, the independence of the judiciary, and transitional justice measures, including the establishment of a Syrian Commission on Missing Persons and purpose specific legislation designed to secure the rights of relatives of the missing to just, truth and reparations.

The PCG is a Syrian-led policy process composed of 27 Syrian family associations, civil society organizations, and legal and human rights defenders as well as international advisors. The PCG aims to develop broad…

Sweden Provides Support to ICMP’s Global Work

The Hague, 4 October 2021: – In its continuing support to the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden has donated SEK 2 million (€200,000) to help address the global challenge of missing and disappeared persons. Sweden is a member of ICMP’s Conference of States Parties and an original signatory state of the ICMP Treaty.

“Today, across Latin America, in the Mediterranean, and across South and Southeast Asia, tens of thousands of people are missing as a result of irregular migration. More than 100,000 people have disappeared from the conflict in Syria, inside the country or on dangerous routes taken by desperate Syrian refugee, and thousands are reported missing as a result of the enforced disappearance and mass displacement of Rohingya from northern Myanmar,” said Rolf Ekeus, ICMP Commissioner. “Countries such as Iraq, Sri Lanka, Burundi, Rwanda, and Vietnam are striving to address a…

ICMP and Missing Persons Group Boost Regional Cooperation to Account for the Remaining Missing Persons

Podgorica, 29 September 2021 – At a meeting in Podgorica this week the Missing Persons Group (MPG) agreed on a range of measures to reinvigorate regional cooperation to account for persons missing as a result of conflicts in the former Yugoslavia.

“Governments in the Western Balkans have managed to account for over 70 percent of the around 40,000 persons reported missing after the conflicts in the 1990s. The MPG, which gathers senior representatives of regional governments that are responsible for addressing missing persons issues, is key to accounting for more than 11,000 that remain missing,” said Matthew Holliday, the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program. “Today the MPG agreed on measures that will increase the sustainability of the MPG, boost cooperation in the process of accounting for the missing as well as strengthen the engagement of families of the missing in its work”.

Out of the more than 11,000 remaining missing…

OECD Designates ICMP as Fully ODA-Eligible

The Hague, 16 September 2021 – On 31 August 2021, the 30 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) unanimously approved the inclusion of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in the list of multilateral organizations which can receive funding under Official Development Assistance (ODA) programs.

ODA is government aid designed to promote the economic growth of developing countries and may be provided bilaterally or channeled through the United Nations or other multilateral organizations approved by the DAC. Donors can now report their funding for ICMP, including funding for ICMP’s Headquarter-based Main Program, as ODA. Funding for ICMP, including its Main Program, will count towards donors’ overall targets for annual official government aid and will no longer be classified as being outside the donor’s overall ODA targets. ODA-eligibility removes a significant impediment to making ICMP’s Main Program, which includes specialized, centralized capabilities…

Germany’s Support Enables ICMP To Implement Its Global Mandate

The Hague, 16 September 2021 – The new German Ambassador to the Netherlands, H.E. Cyrill Nunn, visited the Headquarters of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in The Hague today.

Germany has been a long-time supporter of ICMP and in May this year Germany acceded to the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the ICMP, becoming the Treaty’s ninth State Party.

Speaking during his visit, Ambassador Nunn noted that “ICMP’s programs around the world, including those related to missing persons from the conflicts in Iraq and Syria, contribute to multilateral efforts to stabilize volatile countries and support peace-building.”

ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said Germany’s support for ICMP’s programs, at Headquarters and globally, has enabled the organization to implement its mandate effectively. “Germany has been a key partner in our work to ensure that States uphold their responsibility to locate all missing persons and investigate the circumstances of their disappearance regardless of…