The ICMP-Facilitated Policy Coordination Group Express Their Solidarity with the Families of the Earthquakes Victims

The members of the Policy Coordination Group (PCG) express their solidarity with the families of the victims and with all those who were impacted by the earthquakes that hit southern Türkiye and northern Syria in February. The members of the PCG offer their sincere condolences to civil society partners who lost colleagues in the earthquakes.

The earthquakes struck as the Syrian people continue to suffer in the ongoing conflict for 12 years and in which more than 130,000 people have gone missing, more than half a million have been killed, 13 million have been displaced, and more than six million have been forced to seek asylum abroad. How much more suffering can the Syrian people endure?

The members of the PCG are deeply disappointed by the failure to deliver humanitarian aid promptly to hard-hit communities in northwest Syria. Syrians were left to die under the rubble at a time when the…

Libyan Government Officials and Experts Conclude Visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo, 17 March: A delegation of Libyan government officials and experts have concluded a 5-day, ICMP-facilitated visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH) where they had an opportunity to learn at first hand about the process implemented in BIH to account for persons missing from the conflict of the 1990s. In the last 25 years, with ICMP assistance and through the pioneering use of DNA, the authorities in BIH have been able to account for 75 percent of the 30,000 people who went missing during the conflict, a ratio that has not been equalled in any other post-conflict country.

“The authorities in Libya are facing a major challenge to address the issue of missing persons from different causes,” said ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger. “Bosnia and Herzegovina developed a successful model of a missing persons process that enables families of the missing to secure their right to truth, justice and reparations. This…

The Netherlands Supports ICMP Project to Review Missing Persons Process in South Caucasus Countries

The Hague, 16 March 2023: The Kingdom of the Netherlands will provide funding to the International Commission on Missing Person (ICMP) to conduct an assessment of the scope and situation of the missing persons issue in the South Caucasus related to the armed conflicts beginning in 1988 between Armenia and Azerbaijan and to issue a set of recommendations which would enhance the creation of a sustainable process of accounting for the missing in each country.

The assessment, which will be conducted in during 2023, will examine the engagement of relevant governmental and judicial institutions, legislative frameworks, scientific and technical capacities, the engagement of families of the missing, advocacy groups and other members of civil society, with an emphasis on female-led organizations, data collection and data analysis capacities, documentation of illicit gravesites, cooperative mechanisms and other measures.

“I visited Armenia in March 2022 and Azerbaijan in April 2022 at the invitation of…

More than 130,000 Missing from the Syrian Conflict With Numbers Still on the Rise

The Hague, 15 March 2023 – Today marks the 12th anniversary of the start of the Syrian uprising. As a result of the subsequent conflict, more than 130,000 people have gone missing and the numbers continue to rise. Men, women, and children have been abducted, killed, and forcibly disappeared, or have gone missing along migratory routes while fleeing from the fighting.

“It is critical that those responsible, including the Syrian regime, demonstrate the political will to release prisoners and find missing and disappeared persons in line with international law,” said ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger. “States are responsible for securing the rights of families to truth and justice.” “ICMP reaffirms its solidarity with the families of the victims of atrocities, enforced disappearances and other human rights abuses committed in Syria, as well as with families of those who are missing following the devastating earthquake earlier this year.” she added.

ICMP remains committed to…

SIDA Director-General Carin Jämtin visits ICMP’s Western Balkans program

Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina 28 February 2023 – Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) Director-General Carin Jämtin, Ambassador of Sweden to Bosnia and Herzegovina Johanna Stromquist, Head of the Europe and Latin America Department at Sida, Lisa Fredriksson, and the Head of Development Cooperation at the Embassy of Sweden in BIH, Eva Smedberg.  witnessed the painstaking process of identifying victims of the conflict in former Yugoslavia during their visit to see the work of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

During the visit to Tuzla, the delegation that was accompanied by the Deputy Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program, Samira Krehic learned how ICMP collects genetic reference samples from the families of the missing and how essential this is for the scientifically accurate, blinded process of DNA matching used to identify missing persons. So far, ICMP has collected data from 100,000 families of the missing and over 50,000 post mortem…

Canada Supports Efforts to Locate Missing and Disappeared Persons from the War in Ukraine

The Hague, 28 February 2023: – The International Commission on Missing Persons and the Government of Canada signed an agreement under which ICMP will support Ukraine in locating missing and disappeared persons following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Global Affairs Canada will provide 1.8 million Canadian dollars (roughly 1,345,000 USD) for a one-year project.

The ongoing war in Ukraine has resulted in tens of thousands of missing and disappeared persons. Circumstances in which people go missing in Ukraine include forcible deportations, summary executions, incommunicado detention, kidnapping, abduction and family separation, including unlawful adoptions and trafficking in human beings. ICMP is working with the authorities to develop an effective long-term process to account for the missing and, where missing persons cases are a result of war crimes, to bring perpetrators to justice.

Lisa Helfand, Canada’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, said Canadian support for ICMP in Ukraine, which will help…

ICMP Hosts Workshop on Use of Modern Forensic Genetics to Identify Distant Relatives from War in Vietnam

The Hague, 18 February 2023 – Tuesday, February 14, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) welcomed a delegation of scientists and government officials from Vietnam for a workshop on the use of modern forensic genetics to identify people who went missing decades ago as a result of the war in Vietnam.

The Vietnamese delegation, led by Professor Dr. Chu Hoang Ha, Vice President of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST), included scientists from the Center for DNA Identification (part of VAST’s Institute of Biotechnology), and experts in the identification of war remains from relevant departments and ministries in Vietnam. International scientists represented at the workshop included Dr. Timothy McMahon, Director of the US Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) and Dr. Charla Marshall, Head of AFDIL’s Emerging Technologies Section;  Dr. Tam Ngo, cultural anthropological researcher from the German Max Planck Society; ancient DNA specialist Dr. Elena Zavala, University…

ICMP to Help Survivors and Indigenous Communities In Canada Address Legacy of Residential Schools

The Hague, 17 February 2023: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), which is an independent, treaty-based international organization, will provide support to Residential School Survivors and Indigenous communities in Canada to formulate next steps in addressing the issue of unmarked burials at Residential Schools. ICMP’s support follows a request for assistance by members of Canada’s Indigenous Community and a Technical Arrangement signed with the Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC).

Tens of thousands of Indigenous children were removed from their families and sent to Residential Schools in the late 19th century and much of the 20th century. The schools, often characterized by an environment of systemic abuse, were predicated on eradicating Indigenous culture. Thousands of children died and went missing while attending these schools. Those that died were often buried in unofficial cemeteries or unmarked burial sites and their identities may be unknown.

ICMP will conduct information sessions and a…

Delegation of Vietnamese Officials, Scientists and International Forensic Geneticists Visit ICMP

The Hague, 14 February – This week, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) welcomes a delegation from Vietnam led by Professor Dr. Chu Hoang Ha, Vice President of Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) at its Headquarter in The Hague to take part in a series of events focused on modern forensic genetics and missing person identification in Vietnam. The delegation includes genetic researchers and experts in the identification of war remains from relevant departments and ministries in Vietnam.

“The sheer number of war remains to be identified – numbering hundreds of thousands – and the low quality of samples due to degradation over time and unfavorable burial environments requires state of the art DNA technology,” shared Prof. Dr. Chu Hoang Ha, describing the challenges faced by Vietnam on this issue. He underlined his appreciation of Senator Patrick Leahy and his Chief of Staff, Mr. Tim Rieser…

Thao Griffiths Joins ICMP Board of Commissioners  


The Hague, 29 December 2022: A Vietnamese citizen who continues to play a key role in US-Vietnam relations, in particular supporting reconciliation and healing after the war, Thao Griffiths has accepted an invitation to become a Commissioner of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). Ms. Griffiths will take up this position immediately.

“We are delighted that Thao Griffiths will join the Board,” ICMP Chair Thomas Miller said today. “She has extensive corporate and diplomatic experience and will make an invaluable contribution to ICMP’s efforts to help governments, including governments in Asia, address the issue of persons who have gone missing as a result of conflict, political instability, natural disasters and other causes.”

Since December 2021, Ms. Griffiths, has been Meta’s Public Policy Head for Vietnam. Before that, she served for nearly a decade as Country Director of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, working at the organization’s Hanoi and Washington…