Accounting for the Missing Requires a Rule-of-Law Approach

The Hague, 29 March 2018
: Speaking at the Camera Justitia Masterclass today, as part of The Hague “Movies that Matter Festival”, International Commission for Missing Persons Director of Policy and Cooperation Andreas Kleiser stressed that addressing the issue of missing persons demands a rule-of law approach rather than a purely humanitarian one.

“Large numbers of missing persons destabilize fragile societies, which means that an effective program to account for the missing is a crucial component of any post-conflict or post-disaster recovery effort,” Kleiser said, adding that despite major challenges, effective programs to recover large numbers of missing can be carried out, sometimes many years after the event.

Kleiser said an effective strategy involves working with governments to establish legislative and institutional structures, working with civil society to ensure that the rights of families of the missing are secured, including rights to effective investigations,…

ICMP Trains Forensic Staff from Albania

Sarajevo, 9 March 2018: The Director of Albania’s Institute of the Formerly Politically Persecuted, Bilal Kola, led a training and study mission to Sarajevo this week as part of an ICMP initiative to help Albania develop its capacity to address the issue of missing persons.

During the visit, which ended today, six staff members from the Institute of the Formerly Politically Persecuted were trained in ante-mortem data collection and reference sample collection at ICMP’s facilities in Sarajevo and Tuzla. ICMP also provided training in the use of its Identification Data Management System (iDMS), which will be used to assist the Albanian authorities in compiling a list of missing persons and members of their families.

The Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program briefed Mr Kola on key elements of ICMP’s strategy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where it has spearheaded an effort that has made…

Female Survivors of the Missing Work Hard to Assert their Rights

Statement by ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger

On the Occasion of International Women’s Day, 8 March 2018

Events will take place around the world today to mark the progress that women have made in asserting their social, political and economic rights. There will be recognition too for those who fought to ensure that in many countries around the world women exercise their basic human rights. Yet, we must not forget those fields and countries where women still have to struggle against the odds, and this is especially relevant when it comes to the issue of disappeared and missing persons.

In conflict and other scenarios, a majority of those who disappear are male, which means that single female heads of household have to struggle on their own to access their rights and the rights of their children – the right to effective investigations and due process, the right not to be subjected to torture…

ICMP Donates DNA Lab Equipment To Sarajevo University

Sarajevo, 7 March 2018: The International Commission on Missing Persons has presented Sarajevo University’s Faculty of Natural Science with a comprehensive range of equipment that will make it possible to establish a new DNA laboratory at the university.

At the Faculty today, the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program Matthew Holliday presented the Dean of Faculty of Natural Science, Professor Mustafa Memić with the accompanying documentation for the equipment, which includes two DNA sequencers and sequencing computers, pipettes necessary for DNA lab work and essential laboratory hardware and furniture.

ICMP has also supplied the operating system and software needed to make the equipment operational.

“The equipment donated to our faculty is of great importance and will be used in the teaching process of all three study cycles. In this way, students will be introduced to the latest technologies in the field of molecular biology….

Accounting for Missing Persons Is Key to Stability and Recovery in Iraq

Baghdad, 4 March 2018: Despite the enormous challenges to a sustained and effective missing persons process in Iraq, the authorities, working with families of the missing, have the capacity to make substantial progress in accounting for those who have disappeared as a result of decades of conflict and human rights abuse, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said today.

Ms Bomberger was speaking during a meeting with Iraqi Foreign Minister Dr Ibrahim al-Jaafari at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Baghdad.

The Director-General, together with the Head of ICMP’s Iraq Program, Lena Larsson, briefed the minister on ways in which ICMP can help the Iraqi authorities coordinate the effort to account for the missing and cooperate constructively with families of the missing.

“The task is enormous,” Ms Bomberger said. “The numbers of missing persons are enormous. But it is very important to stress two things. The…

ICMP Welcomes Key Step Forward In Colombia’s Missing Persons Process

The Hague, 22 February 2018: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) joins other organizations and governments working to support the Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition (SIVJRNR) in Colombia in welcoming the formal swearing-in on Wednesday of Luz Marina Monzón as the first Director of the Search Unit for Missing Persons.

“Almost 85,900 missing persons cases have to be resolved in Colombia,” ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said today. “The Search Unit has been established to address this issue in an effective way, as required by the Final Peace Agreement, and its success will have a significant bearing on the success of the peace process as a whole. Luz Marina Monzón’s swearing-in is a key step forward, and ICMP will work closely with the new Director to support the work of the Unit.”

The issue of missing persons was a central part of the negotiations between the Government and…

ICMP Helps to Identify Victims Of 1970s Military Regime in Brazil

The Hague, 20 February 2018: The Perus Working Group (PWG), which was established in 2014 to identify bodies that were interred in a clandestine mass grave in Sao Paulo, Brazil, has announced the first identification of a victim buried at the cemetery: Dimas Antonio Casemiro, who was killed by agents of the military regime in April 1971.

The remains of opponents of the military government were buried at the cemetery without identification between 1971 and 1975.

The identification of the body of Dimas Antonio Casemiro was confirmed following analysis of biological samples sent from Brazil to ICMP’s laboratory system.

The DNA Match Report was brought to Sao Paulo by the Director of ICMP’s Science & Technology Program, Dr. Thomas Parsons.

“This was an extremely complex undertaking,” said Dr. Samuel Ferreira, the Scientific Coordinator of Brazil’s Special Commission on Political Deaths and Disappearances, who is also…

ICMP Agreement Boosts Efforts To Identify Missing Persons in Sinjar Region

Duhok, 11 February: In an effort to assist in accounting for missing persons from Da’esh crimes, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the Commission for Investigation and Gathering Evidence (CIGE), which has its headquarters in Duhok in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, today signed an agreement that will give CIGE access to ICMP’s Identification Data Management System (iDMS).

The iDMS is a global data system capability that ICMP provides to governments, families of the missing, technical experts and others. It has a set of powerful integrated applications that support the process of storing, processing and analyzing data on missing persons investigations, and identifications. As an estimated one million persons are missing from a variety of circumstances over the last 50 years of Iraq’s history, ICMP’s goal is to ensure access to the iDMS for all Iraqi institutions whose work is…

Croatia to Incorporate ICMP’s Data Systems Technologies for Missing Persons Cases

The Hague, 6 February 2018: The Republic of Croatia and the International Commission on Missing persons (ICMP) will work together to put the effort to account for 1,945 people missing from the Republic of Croatia during 1991-1995.

“The relevant authorities of the Republic of Croatia have cooperated with ICMP for almost two decades and, with new forensic and database technology now available, we believe that we can build on the activities we have already done together,” Assistant Minister Stjepan Sucic of the Ministry of Croatian Defenders said today during a visit to ICMP’s Headquarters in The Hague. “A major challenge is to ensure accurate information on missing persons and clandestine graves which is preconditioned by the necessary political support to the process of accounting of the missing and promotion of public awareness.”

During the visit, Assistant Minister Stjepan Sucic, together with Visnja Bilic, head of the Ministry of Croatian Defenders’ Department…

ICMP Meets with Families of Missing Persons from the Bosnian Conflict to Coordinate Future Activities

Sarajevo, 18 January 2018: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) hosted a meeting in Sarajevo today with families of the missing from Bosnia and Herzegovina to present ICMP’s continuing assistance to BIH and its cooperation with families and government authorities here to locate and identify the estimated 7,000 persons who are still missing from the 1992-95 conflict.

To date over 70 % of the 30,000 persons missing from the conflicts of the 1990’s have been accounted for. Despite consistent efforts of the BiH authorities to locate the remaining missing persons, the number of new sites found has decreased since 2009. ICMP will continue to help the authorities in BIH address the interrelated issues of unidentified remains held in BiH mortuaries and misidentifications that occurred before ICMP introduced DNA testing in 2001. ICMP will maintain Forensic Anthropology and Archaeology activities and will…