ICMP Welcomes Visitors During Hague International Open Day

The Hague, 23 September 2018 – The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) welcomed visitors today at its headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands, as part of the Hague International Open Day.

Director of Policy and Cooperation Andreas Kleiser, Director of Science and Technology Thomas Parsons, and Director of Data Systems and Coordination Adnan Rizvic briefed visitors on the development of ICMP’s international role since it was founded in 1996, and in particular since 2015 when it became a treaty-based organization and since 2016 when it moved its headquarters to The Hague.

The ICMP Agreement, signed by the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg in December 2014, mandates ICMP to secure the co-operation of governments and other authorities in locating persons missing as a result of armed conflicts, human rights abuses, natural and man-made disasters and other involuntary reasons and to assist them in doing so. ICMP supports the…

Chile Ratifies ICMP Agreement

The Hague, 19 September 2018: The Government of Chile has ratified the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

The Agreement recognizes ICMP as an international organization tasked with assisting countries in their efforts to address missing persons cases from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, migration and other causes.

By ratifying the Agreement, Chile joins Cyprus, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Serbia, Sweden and the United Kingdom, which have already done so.

ICMP has worked with the authorities in Chile for many years, helping relevant institutions to address the missing persons cases, including those who went missing under the Pinochet dictatorship. ICMP looks forward to working with the Chilean authorities and with Chilean civil society to address cases from the period of the dictatorship that have not yet been resolved, as well as other cases.

The Agreement does not create new international obligations for signatory States,…

Dutch Government Renews Support for ICMP

 

The Hague, 7 September 2018: The Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands has made an additional financial contribution of EUR 250,000 to support the International Commission on Missing Persons’ (ICMP) Headquarters in The Hague. The funding will be allocated to strengthening ICMP’s forensic and data systems capacities, as well as activities to support global programs and international cooperation.

In addition to The Netherlands’ long-standing support for ICMP’s work in the Western Balkans, the Dutch Foreign Ministry and the City of The Hague have provided invaluable logistical and financial resources to help ICMP establish and develop its Headquarters capacity.

“The Agreement on the Status and Functions of ICMP, which established the organization as a treaty-based international organization in 2015, stipulated that the Headquarters of the organization should be in The Hague,” Kathryne Bomberger said today. “The proactive support from the Netherlands and…

DNA Exclusion Database: Anonymous, Secure and Searchable

The Hague, 4 September 2018: ICMP hosted a workshop at its headquarters in The Hague today examining strategies for developing and using a Manufacturers’ Exclusion Database (MED) for companies working in the field of forensic science.

ICMP created a searchable MED, in cooperation with the European Network of Forensic Science institutes (ENFSI) and DNA consumable manufacturers, in 2014, and makes this accessible to DNA consumable manufacturers and DNA laboratories, allowing them to detect external contaminants coming from the forensic analysis supply chain. The MED provides forensic laboratories and police investigators with an anonymous, secure and searchable online database of DNA profiles to search for contaminations originating with manufacturers or otherwise detected in DNA laboratories.

Ingo Bastisch, Head of the DNA laboratory at the German Bundeskriminalamt, spoke at today’s workshop about the necessary role of the MED from the standpoint of the forensic user community. ICMP Director of Policy and Cooperation Andreas…

USAID Extends Missing Persons Support to ICMP To Assist Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo, 4 September 2018: The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded a grant of US$350,000 to a program implemented by the International Commission on Missing Persons’ (ICMP) that supports Bosnia and Herzegovina’s efforts to account for those who are still missing from the conflict of the 1990s. Besides USAID, other donors assisting the ICMP program in BiH are the European Union and Sweden.

ICMP’s program in Bosnia and Herzegovina provides assistance in forensic anthropology and archaeology, DNA matching and identification, and civil society development. In addition, ICMP is helping the authorities to address the interrelated issues of unidentified remains held in BIH mortuaries, and misidentifications that occurred before ICMP introduced DNA testing in 2001.

Matthew Holliday, the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program, expressed the organization’s thanks for US support.

Noting that the BIH authorities have been able to account for almost 23,000 of the approximately 30,000 people who were…

ICMP Joins Albanian Partners To Mark International Day of the Disappeared

Tirana, Albania, 30 August 2018: In Tirana today, Matthew Holliday, Head of the Western Balkans Program at the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), presented ICMP’s “Site Locator”, an on-line application that facilitates the search for clandestine gravesites. Mr Holliday also spoke about the “Report a Missing Person” module, which makes it possible for people to provide information that can assist in resolving missing persons cases. Both of these programs are accessed through the Online Inquiry Centre (OIC) at www.icmp.int.

Mr Holliday was speaking at an event in Tirana today that was organized with ICMP support by the Authority for Information on Former Communist Police Secret Files and the Institute for the Integration of the Formerly Politically Persecuted, to mark International Day of the Disappeared.

“The Albanian authorities and ICMP share the goal of protecting the rights of families of the missing, in particular by ensuring that the whereabouts of…

States Must Endeavour to Account for the Missing

30 August 2018: In an op-ed published on the occasion of the International Day of the Disappeared, the Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons, Kathryne Bomberger, has highlighted the close connection between accounting for the missing and upholding the rule of law.

Ms Bomberger notes that “governments have well recognized human rights obligations to investigate reports about missing persons and to establish the circumstances of their disappearance, and to do this without regard to nationality, ethnicity or other group characteristics.” She stresses that “no lesser investigative standard is justified based on whether a person goes missing in armed conflict, a maritime disaster or as a migrant fleeing pervasive lawlessness and abuse. Individuals may be traveling on forged documents, or with no documents at all; they may have paid a trafficker for passage in an unregistered vessel. These contraventions have no bearing on the obligations of states when people…

Baghdad Conference Addresses Multiple Aspects Of the Missing Persons Issue  

Baghdad, 30 August 2018: To mark International Day of the Disappeared, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), in cooperation with the Foundation for Art in Life, organized an event at the National Museum in Baghdad today, which was attended by more than a hundred participants representing almost all government ministries, as well as diplomatic missions and civil society.

Relatives of the missing gave powerful testimonies, describing the challenges that families face when a loved one is a victim of disappearance.

Accompanying the public discussion was an exhibition of art and videography on the theme of missing persons, created by artists from throughout Iraq and from different communities and ethnic groups, exploring the missing persons theme. During the event, the celebrated cellist, Karim Wasfi, played an original composition marking International Day of the Disappeared.

In their remarks, government officials agreed on the need for a proactive response to the issue of missing…

ICMP: the Facts Surrounding Srebrenica Are Not Disputable

The Hague August 16: In the Republika Srpska (RS) National Assembly on Tuesday attempts were made to reject or significantly amend the Report of the Commission for Investigation of the Events in and around Srebrenica between 10 and 19 July 1995, produced for the RS Government 14 years ago. The Report laid out the facts surrounding the events at Srebrenica and called on the RS leadership to apologize to the families of the victims.

The RSNA’s move to reject or amend this Report directly undermines reconciliation and the full implementation of the rule of law in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The facts established by the Report have been confirmed by international and domestic criminal courts. The facts have also been supported by two decades of systematic forensic work conducted by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). ICMP’s work has confirmed earlier conclusions regarding the events at Srebrenica and Zepa in…

ICMP Is Helping Partners in Iraq To Take Urgent Steps to Identify the Missing

Erbil, 6 August 2018: It is four years since Da’esh occupied Nineveh Governorate in Iraq and launched a campaign of enforced disappearance, enslavement and summary execution that has left a legacy of mass graves. More than a year has passed since the area, which includes the district of Sinjar and the city of Mosul, was retaken by forces of the Baghdad government amid a high rate of military and civilian casualties. Today, volunteer teams in Mosul are collecting and storing human remains in makeshift conditions, while a systematic process of exhuming mass graves in Sinjar is not yet underway.

Faced with the urgent need to address this issue, local authorities in Nineveh have reached out directly to the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). At a meeting on 25 July with the Head of ICMP’s Iraq program, Lena Larsson, the Chair of Nineveh Provincial Council, Bashar Al-Kiki, announced that the…