Families of the missing and representatives of authorities from former Yugoslavia commemorate all victims of conflicts

Podgorica, 13 September 2022: Family associations of missing persons from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia gathered as the Regional Coordination Network and the Missing Persons Group (MPG) which comprises senior representatives of the domestic authorities in the Western Balkans are responsible for addressing missing persons issues commemorated all victims of conflicts on the territory of the former Yugoslavia at the Pobrezje Park in Podgorica, Montenegro.

“Together with the families of the missing, we are paying respect to all the victims of conflicts in the ’90s. Working as the Missing Persons Group, we will continue our cooperation to account for the remaining missing persons so all the families of the missing can achieve their right to truth and justice”, Dragan Djukanovic, President of the Commission on Missing Persons of Montenegro said today.

As a result of the conflicts in the ‘90s, more than 40,000 people went missing. To date, more…

ICMP DG Op-Ed: How the International Commission on Missing Persons works in Ukraine

The Hague, 30 August 2022: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is preparing to launch a major program in Ukraine. ICMP will work with government institutions and with families of the missing and civil society organizations to help the authorities develop a process that will make it possible to locate missing persons and reunite them with their families and also to identify human remains from mass and clandestine graves.

Ukrainian law and the international agreements that Ukraine has signed, including the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which Ukraine ratified in 2015, uphold the rights of families of the missing.

These include the right to the truth about the fate and whereabouts of family members, the right to an effective and official investigation, the right to seek, receive and impart Information, the right to form associations and communicate with international organizations, the right to family…

Families of the Missing and Disappeared Have the Right to Truth, Justice and Reparations

Artwork created by families of the missing for an exhibition organized by the Judy Organization for Relief and Development (JORD). The paintings are courtesy of JORD.

The Hague, 30 August 2022: – Accounting for missing persons is a central and indispensable element in efforts by countries and regions around the world to recover from conflict, disasters and other traumatic events, Kathryne Bomberger, the Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), said today.

Speaking on the occasion of the International Day of the Disappeared, Ms Bomberger noted that, throughout the world, authorities are bound by domestic law and international agreements, including the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, to fulfill obligations towards families of the missing.

To mark the International Day of the Disappeared, ICMP has published a Guide for Families of the Missing, which explains in detail the rights of families, including the right to the truth about the fate and whereabouts of family members, the right to an effective and official investigation, the right to seek, receive and impart…

ICMP’s Kevin Sullivan Wins 2022 Hubert Butler Essay Prize

The Hague, 11 August 2022: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), is proud to announce that one of our colleagues, Kevin Sullivan, has been awarded the internationally-recognized Hubert Butler Essay Prize for 2022. The prize promotes the art of essay-writing across Europe. Named in honor of one of Ireland’s most distinguished 20th-century writers, it reflects Hubert Butler’s interest in the common ground between the European nation states that emerged after the First World War, including his concern with the position of religious and ethnic minorities.

The theme of this year’s prize is “In dark times, what can be done to resist the abuse of political power”? Professor Roy Foster, chair of the judges’ panel, commended the essay by Sullivan, for its broad perspective and optimism and its support for the concept of “living in truth.”

Sullivan said: “It is an honour to have been awarded this prize. The topic offered…

ICMP Staffer Receives Dutch Royal Recognition

His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands has appointed Alexander Hug as an Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau. The award was presented to Mr. Hug, who is the head of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) Iraq Program, by Minister of Foreign Affairs Wopke Hoekstra, on 15 July 2022.

The appointment recognizes Mr. Hug’s actions after Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by a Russian BUK missile over eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014, killing all 298 passengers and crew.

Mr. Hug, who was at the time the Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), led the first team to reach the crash site, and negotiated access despite obstruction from armed men occupying the area. He and his team helped to secure the site, provided access to forensic investigators and facilitated the return of…

The Search for Missing Yazidi’s Must Be Advanced

The Hague, 3 August 2022 – Today marks the 8th anniversary of crimes committed against the Yazidi population in Iraq. When Da’esh invaded the Iraqi province of Sinjar in 2014, more than 5,000 men were killed and 7,000 people, mainly women and children, were abducted. A significant number of those who were abducted are still missing.

On this somber anniversary the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) reaffirms its commitment to help the Iraqi authorities find missing persons and investigate their disappearance and to help Yazidi families of the missing secure their rights to truth and justice.

ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said today that “surviving families must be able to access their fundamental right to truth, justice and reparations.” She commended the courage and strength that has been shown by Yazidi families and other families of the missing in Iraq, as they demand that the remaining missing persons are found and…

Families of the Victims Must Be Allowed to Mourn Their Loved Ones at the Sites of Atrocities and the Exhumation Sites

The Hague, 14 July 2022: The International Commision on Missing Persons (ICMP) strongly condemns the decision of Bratunac mayor to deny Srebrenica genocide survivors the access to the Kravica agricultural cooperative site to commemorate the killing of their loved ones on this location.

Article 20 of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Law on Missing Persons prescribes that families of the missing or their associations may request that locations of burials and exhumations (individual or joint) are marked, regardless of the number of victims. Therefore, the decision by Bratunac mayor not only prevents the families of the victims of their basic right to mourn their loved ones, but it is also illegal.

The decision to prevent families of the victims to mourn the loss of their loved ones undermines the reconciliation process and creates new divisions between citizens in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Political leaders on all levels have the responsibility to be at…

Srebrenica 27 Years Later – The Facts About the Genocide are Irrefutable

The Hague, 11 July 2022: To deny the facts about the Genocide that were adjudicated by two international courts, undermines the right to truth and justice for survivors and for humanity, Kathryne Bomberger, Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), said today.

Speaking on the 27th anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide, Ms. Bomberger said: “The International Commission on Missing Persons assisted in the investigation of the Srebrenica Genocide and provided irrefutable evidence of the identity of almost 7,000 of the more than 8,000 persons whose mortal remains were concealed in numerous mass graves in eastern Bosnia. As the investigation continues, more persons will be found.”

ICMP introduced a DNA-led process of identification that has made it possible to account for almost 90 percent of the Srebrenica victims. Today, 50 victims identified in the last 12 months were laid to rest at the Potocari Memorial Center outside Srebrenica.

Ten of the…

Policy Coordination Group: Accounting for Missing Persons Is Fundamental to Establishing Peace in Syria

The Hague, 23 June 2022: Implementing a systematic process to account for missing and disappeared persons in Syria must be a central element in peace negotiations and can contribute to peace implementation in a fundamental way, participants at a meeting of the Policy Coordination Group (PCG) said this week.

Meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday in The Hague, the PCG, a Syrian-led initiative on the missing and disappeared facilitated by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), discussed a policy paper on mass graves.

ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said the missing persons process must be understood in the context of rebuilding Syrian society after decades of dictatorship and more than a decade of conflict. She said the PCG policy paper on mass graves, as well as other documents produced by the group, could drive fundamental change after a peace settlement, in terms of accountability, transparency and respect for the rule of law.

“Mass graves continue…

An Effective Strategy is Urgently Needed To Account for Missing and Disappeared Persons from the Syria Conflict

The Hague, 22 June 2022: – More than 130,000 people are missing as a result of the present conflict in Syria. This includes people who are missing as a consequence of summary executions, arbitrary and incommunicado detention, kidnapping and abduction, enslavement, chemical attacks, and other human rights abuses. The fighting and day-to-day ravages of war have also resulted in combatants and civilians of many nationalities going missing. In addition, migrants and refugees fleeing the region are missing, including children who have been separated from their families, people who have drowned on the Mediterranean crossing, and victims of human trafficking. Syrians and others are also missing as a result of human rights abuses perpetrated in Syria before the current conflict began.

An effective strategy is urgently needed to locate and identify such a large number of people who have gone missing over a protracted period of time and to secure the…