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…

Regional Cooperation Is the Key To Finding the Wartime Missing

The Hague, 6 March 2018: Regional cooperation and a sustained commitment by governments to move forward with their respective missing persons strategies are key to finding those who are still missing from the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, Kathryne Bomberger, the Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), wrote in an article that appeared in Balkan Insight today.

Ms Bomberger stressed that while 28,000 people have been accounted for, 12,000 are still missing, and she commended the progress that is being made to develop and implement multilateral cooperation, highlighting as “a significant step” the Joint Declaration signed in London in June 2018 by heads of government from the region, renewing their commitment to cooperate in the effort to account for those who are still missing.

The Joint Declaration was followed by the signing of a Framework Plan last November, at ICMP headquarters in The Hague, by representatives of Bosnia…

ICMP Welcomes Two New Commissioners

  

The Hague 5 March 2019: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is pleased to announce that former Foreign Minister of El Salvador María Eugenia Brizuela de Ávila and former Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Bert Koenders will join ICMP’s Board of Commissioners.

ICMP Commissioners are actively involved in addressing the global challenge of missing persons and represent ICMP at the highest diplomatic and governmental levels worldwide.

“The Board of Commissioners is delighted to welcome two such distinguished public figures to its ranks,” ICMP Chair Thomas Miller said today. “As ICMP extends its support to countries around the world, it is important that the Board has the capacity to engage effectively at a global level, and I believe that our capacity to do this will be enhanced by the involvement of our…

ICMP Laboratory in The Hague Utilizes New Technology for Human Identification

The Hague, 5 March 2019: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has made the first human identifications using technology now being developed at ICMP’s laboratory in The Hague. The matches were made possible by the hugely increased analytical power of next-generation DNA technologies, known as Massively Parallel Sequencing (MPS).

“The use of MPS, which ICMP is developing in cooperation with academic colleagues and the international technology company QIAGEN, can achieve results in highly challenging cases, where current technologies have failed,” said Dr. Thomas J. Parsons, ICMP Director of Science & Technology, adding that MPS also enables identifications to be made between more distant relatives.

“We are excited to see ICMP successfully identify individuals once counted as lost, using state-of-the-art technologies developed through our longstanding collaboration. This collaboration has resulted in a custom designed next-generation sequencing panel perfectly suited for ICMP’s missing persons applications, and is based on QIAGEN’s GeneReader NGS…

ICMP Laboratory in The Hague Delivers BIH Identifications Using New Technology

Sarajevo, 27 February 2019: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has submitted three new DNA match reports to the BIH Missing Persons Institute (MPI) using technology that is now being developed at ICMP’s laboratory in The Hague. The matches – which mean that three previously unidentified sets of human remains have been identified – were made possible by the hugely increased analytical power of next generation DNA technologies, known as Massively Parallel Sequencing (MPS).

“ICMP’s use of MPS offers new hope for families who are still waiting to learn the fate of their loved ones,” the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program, Matthew Holliday, said today. He said the number of new identifications enabled by MPS will be relatively small at first, but that it nonetheless represents a significant step forward. “The new technology can achieve results in highly challenging cases, where current technologies have failed and it also…

An Effective Approach To the Issue of Missing Migrants

The Hague, 21 February 2019: At a workshop organized in Malta today by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), in cooperation with Missing People UK, participants noted that states in the Mediterranean have the means to account for large numbers of missing migrants and refugees, and can do this effectively if they adopt a pragmatic and systematic approach.

The workshop, entitled “Accounting for the Missing Is an Investment in Peace”, included testimony from individuals who have travelled on migration routes and who have experienced at first hand the disappearance of a loved one on their journey. It was part of the “Lost in Migration” conference organized by the President’s Foundation for the Well-being of Society and the NGO Missing Children Europe.

“Families of the missing are always the center, and often at the forefront of the process of accounting for missing persons, and…

Accounting for the Missing Is an Investment in Peace

The Hague, 19 February 2019: The Mediterranean remains the scene of daily tragedies, even if the reduction in the number of migrants reaching Europe has reduced media coverage of these tragedies, the Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), Kathryne Bomberger, wrote in an opinion piece that appeared in The Times of Malta today.

She noted that, “while fewer refugees have tried to make the journey, fatalities and disappearances have continued. In the first month of 2019, the number was already well into the hundreds,” and she added that refugees and migrants sent back to embarkation ports, many of them in Libya, have routinely been subject to arbitrary detention.

Ms Bomberger highlighted “an urgent need to mobilize existing capacities among European countries such as Cyprus, Greece, Malta and Italy”. She pointed out that all four countries expressed a strong interest during an ICMP meeting held in Rome in June…

Srebrenica: No Room for Revisionism

The Hague, 15 February: In August 2018, the Republika Srpska (RS) National Assembly annulled the “Report of the Commission for Investigation of the Events in and around Srebrenica between 10 and 19 July 1995”, which had been produced for the RS Government in 2004. The current RS Government has now announced the setting up of two new commissions to investigate events in and around Srebrenica and in Sarajevo during the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

For more than two decades, the International Commission on Missing persons (ICMP) has led the effort to account for those who went missing during the conflict and to uphold the rights of families of the missing to truth, justice and reparations, regardless of national, ethnic or religious affiliation. The facts established by the RS Government Report 15 years ago have been confirmed by international and domestic criminal courts, and they are supported by systematic forensic…

ICMP Charts Future Path with Iraqi Authorities

The Hague, 15 February 2019: Representatives of the Iraqi institutions dealing with the issue of missing persons met throughout this week at the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) Headquarters in The Hague to examine ways in which ICMP can help Iraq to account for hundreds of thousands of missing people, including those who have gone missing as a result of Da’esh crimes.

The meeting concluded with a set of recommendations on concrete steps through which ICMP can assist the authorities of Iraq during 2019 and beyond. These recommendations respond to a set of challenges defined in “Mass Graves in Iraq” a document produced by the Department of Protection and Mass Graves Affairs of the Martyrs’ Foundation.

In Iraq, between 250,000 and one million people have gone missing from decades of conflict and human rights abuse. Iraq has taken very positive steps to address…