Syrian Civil Society Organizations Call for Action on Missing and Disappeared Persons

The Hague, 23 May 2019:  Syrian organizations participating in a roundtable on the issue of missing persons from the conflict in Syria have highlighted the need to harmonize their efforts to advocate for unified policy positions on the issue of missing and disappeared persons from the Syrian conflict and to build cooperation between families of the missing, regardless of communal or national background.

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) organized the three-day conference at its Headquarters in The Hague this week to provide families and civil society organizations (CSOs) with a forum to articulate their needs and discuss effective advocacy to uphold families’ right to truth, justice and reparation. The roundtable examined the issue of Syrians who have been detained inside the country without access to family or legal representation, the need for an independent, impartial and centralized database that will enable a systematic effort to locate and identify…

Ambassador Dirk Brengelmann Joins ICMP Board of Commissioners

The Hague, 7 May 2019: Germany’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, Dirk Brengelmann, has accepted an invitation to become a Commissioner of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). Ambassador Brengelmann will take up his position forthwith and will participate at the annual meeting of the Board of Commissioners at ICMP Headquarters in The Hague in mid-June.

“I am very honored by and accept the invitation of ICMP to participate in their work as Commissioner.

I have had a chance to observe ICMP activitie‎s for quite some time now and I am impressed by their engagement and commitment. I am looking forward to cooperating with my fellow Commissioners in this important endeavor,” Ambassador Brengelmann said.

“We are delighted to welcome Ambassador Brengelmann,” the Chair of ICMP’s Board of Commissioners, Thomas Miller, said today. “ICMP has worked with the German Government on a number of programs around the world and engages on a range…

Western Balkans Countries Agree On Next Steps in Missing Persons Process

Zagreb 18 April 2019: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has convened the second meeting of the Missing Persons Group (MPG). The group consists of senior representatives of the institutions responsible for missing persons issues in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia and has a role in supervising operations under the Framework Plan signed in November 2018 in The Hague.

Matthew Holliday, the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program, highlighted the fruitful cooperation of all the representatives participating in the meeting. Noting that trust among stakeholders in the region is essential to account for the estimated 12,000 missing persons cases that are still outstanding, he said, “with financial support from the United Kingdom Government we will continue to work with government institutions and with family associations to enhance regional cooperation in order to identify as many as possible of those who are still missing. All the parties…

ICMP’s Experience & Resources Can Support Mexico In Establishing an Effective Missing Persons Process

The Hague, 15 April 2019: ICMP is working with partners from the state of Nuevo Leon in northern Mexico to develop an effective missing persons process that could in future serve as a model for other Mexican states.

Under a project launched in December last year and supported by USAID, ICMP is working with Citizens in Support of Human Rights (CADHAC), an NGO in Nuevo Leon, to support a process that brings domestic authorities together with families of the missing in a way that builds trust, facilitates information sharing, and sustains an effective effort to account for the missing. ICMP is assisting the Prosecutor’s Office with database technology and Science & Technology expertise.

Nuevo Leon Prosecutor General Gustavo Adolfo Guerrero Gutierrez, CADHAC Executive Director Sister Consuelo Morales, and Bárbara Pérez-Martínez from USAID Mexico, along with colleagues from the prosecutor’s office and CADHAC, have completed an…

Effective Missing Persons Process in Iraq Depends on All Stakeholders Working Together   

Baghdad, 13 April 2019: The Deputy Head of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) program in Iraq, Fawaz Abdulabbas Abdulameer, noted today that ICMP’s experience in different parts of the world shows conclusively that an effective missing persons process depends on families and officials working closely together. 

Families must know their rights, to the truth, to justice and to reparations, and they must be supported when they exercise these rights,” Mr Abdulabbas Abdulameer said, adding that “Government officials who are responsible for accounting for the missing 

ICMP Supports Iraqi National Team In Recovery Operations in Sinjar

Baghdad, 12 April 2019: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is providing technical expertise and resources to support the Iraqi National Team at the mass grave excavation that resumed today in Kocho village near the town of Sinjar in Nineveh Province, northern Iraq.

ICMP forensic experts are working alongside personnel from the Mass Graves Department of the Iraqi Martyrs’ Foundation, the Medico-Legal Directorate of the Ministry of Health, the Kurdistan Region’s Ministry of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs and the United Nations Investigative Team to promote accountability for crimes committed by Da’esh. This effort is being coordinated by the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers. This activity was supported by the European Union Foreign Policy Instrument, the US Department of State and Canada.

In addition to field support, ICMP has provided the National Team with training in relation to locating and documenting mass graves. It is also supporting anthropologists from…

Sweden Supports ICMP in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo, 2 April 2019: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the Embassy of Sweden in Sarajevo have signed an agreement under which Sweden will provide an additional 100.000 Euros to support ICMP’s program in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Including this additional funding, since 2002 Sweden has provided 23.000.000 SEK to support ICMP’s work in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“This new grant is part of Sweden’s long-term assistance for ICMP’s contribution to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s effort to account for the missing and to uphold the rights of survivors,” Marie Bergstrom, the Head of Development Cooperation at the Embassy of Sweden, said today. “Accounting for those who are still missing is a crucial element in maintaining peace and stability. ICMP provides the authorities with targeted and effective assistance and this is why Sweden is supporting its program in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

Matthew Holliday, the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program, thanked the Swedish…

Accounting for the Missing Is a Key Element in Post-War Justice

The Hague, 20 March 2019: The Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), Kathryne Bomberger, issued a statement following the verdict of the UN International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (MICT) in the case of Radovan Karadzic.

“A chapter in the history of conflict of the Western Balkans closed today, when the MICT upheld the conviction of Radovan Karadzic for genocide and war crimes and extended the sentence to life in prison.

“As those who were responsible for crimes are brought to justice, it is important that their victims are not forgotten. In the former Yugoslavia, 40,000 people went missing as a result of the conflicts. More than two thirds of these people have been accounted for as a result of the action of regional governments, working together with ICMP. However, 12,000 people are still missing, including one thousand of the 8,000 victims of the Srebrenica Genocide.

“ICMP provided evidence…

EU Brussels Conference on Syria Discusses Missing Persons Issue

The Hague, 14 March 2019: More than half of those surveyed during an EU Consultation on Syria said the issue of missing persons, including victims of enforced disappearance and detainees, is the most important topic in the field of justice and cohesion, Kathryne Bomberger, Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), told participants at a major conference on Syria convened by the European Union in Brussels this week.

Ms Bomberger was speaking on a panel on Justice and Social Cohesion at the European Parliament. She noted that the Consultation undertaken by the EU ahead of the conference, had concluded, among other things, that communities in Syria must be made aware of their legal rights and the legal tools they can use to defend their interests, and that accountability must be kept on the political agenda.

“There are upwards of 80,000 persons missing in the Syrian context, including those missing…

Accounting for the Missing Is an Investment in Peace

Sarajevo, 7 March 2019: In an interview published today by Buka.com, a news portal in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kathryne Bomberger, the Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), stressed that “accounting for the missing is an investment in peace”, and she highlighted the paramount importance of regional cooperation.

“Bringing governments together to address common challenges, and working with them to arrive at solutions together is important for trust building,” Ms Bomberger said. She said that while more than 70 percent of the missing have been accounted for, there are still 7,000 missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina and 12,000 missing across the region, so “the effort to account for the missing must be sustained”.

Ms Bomberger noted that in London in June 2018, Western Balkan heads of government signed a Joint Declaration renewing their commitment to cooperate in the effort to account for those who are still missing. She described…