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…

ICMP and INTERPOL Convene Expert Meeting On DNA Analysis and Missing Migrants

The Hague 21 November 2019 – The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) have jointly organized the second meeting of DNA experts on DNA analysis of missing migrants and unidentified human remains. The meeting was held today at ICMP Headquarters in The Hague, The Netherlands.

ICMP Director of Policy and Cooperation Andreas Kleiser and INTERPOL DNA Unit Coordinator Susan Hitchin opened the meeting with an overview of key issues related to identifying missing migrants. ICMP Director of Science and Technology Thomas Parsons and ICMP Missing Migrants Program Manager Alessandra La Vaccara presented ICMP’s work in this field.

Tina Hu from INTERPOL’s Vulnerable Communities sub-directorate, and INTERPOL DNA Consultant Andrea Fischer spoke about Project Flyway and its DNA component. Project Flyway was launched in 2017 to combat migrant smuggling, human trafficking, and crimes against children, focusing on North Africa. The meeting examined how experts participating…

Czech Republic Continues Its Support for ICMP

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The Hague, 21 November: The Czech Republic’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, H.E. Ms. Kateřina Sequensová, visited the Headquarters of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in The Hague this week.

“The Czech Republic has been supporting ICMP for many years, and we are committed to continuing this relationship,” Ambassador Sequensová said after presenting ICMP with a grant. The Czech Republic, which has Observer status in ICMP’s Conference of State Parties, has provided ICMP with more than 150,000 Euros since 2008.

ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger thanked Ambassador Sequensová and said that Czech support has enabled ICMP to work effectively with governments in different parts of the world to address the challenge of missing persons.

“Large numbers of missing from conflict or major disasters make it very hard for countries to recover,” Director-General Bomberger said. “If authorities are unable or unwilling to account for the missing, the public credibility of…

ICMP Donates DNA Lab Equipment To University of Sarajevo Faculty of Medicine

Sarajevo, 7 November 2019: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has presented Sarajevo University’s Faculty of Medicine with a comprehensive range of laboratory equipment which will improve capacity at the University’s Institute for Legal Medicine.

At the Faculty today, the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program, Matthew Holliday, presented the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Prof. Dr. Semra Čavaljuga, with the accompanying documentation for the equipment, which includes a DNA sequencer, a sequencing computer, a mini centrifuge and software needed to make the equipment operational.

“One of the most important tasks of the Faculty of Medicine is to improve all our capacities. This equipment is of great importance as it is going to be used in our teaching process to gain new modern knowledge and broaden horizons. Students will have an opportunity to be acquainted with the innovative technologies in the field of genetics”, Professor Čavaljuga said.

Matthew Holliday stressed…

ICMP Submits First Two DNA Match Reports to the Albanian Authorities

31 October 2019: Today in Tirana the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) announced that it has submitted the first two DNA Match Reports to the Albanian authorities. These Match Reports will enable the authorities to make conclusive, scientific identifications of two individuals who went missing during the period of Communist rule.

Speaking at a press conference in the EU House in Tirana, Matthew Holliday, the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program said the Match Reports submitted to the Albanian authorities “demonstrate that missing persons can be accurately identified even decades after the disappearances.” He added that “the first results of ICMP’s EU-funded project mark a crucial turning point in addressing the issue of persons missing from the Communist era in Albania.”

Albania’s Deputy Interior Minister, Rovena Voda, stressed that locating and identifying those who went missing “is a legal obligation of our country, in accordance with the constitution, laws and…

Afghanistan Accedes to ICMP Treaty

The Hague, 30 October 2019: The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan has acceded to the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). This makes Afghanistan the eighth country to become an ICMP State Party in addition to Chile, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Serbia, Sweden, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Belgium and El Salvador as Signatory States.

Since 1980, Afghanistan has experienced almost continuous conflict, which has resulted in large numbers of missing persons. ICMP stands ready to help the authorities in Afghanistan to develop an effective, impartial and long-term missing persons process.

After today’s ceremony, at which the Ambassador of Afghanistan to the Netherlands H.E. dr. Mohammad Homayoon Azizi formally deposited the instrument of accession at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands as depository of the Agreement, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said that by becoming a State Party, Afghanistan has affirmed its commitment to…