EU Special Representative and Head of the European Union Delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina Ambassador Lars-Gunnar Wigemark visited the Identification Coordination Facility (ICF) of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Tuzla today, accompanied by the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Programs, Matthew Holliday.
The ICF acts as the nexus for ICMP’s identification programs and is responsible for receiving and archiving biological samples from around the world, which are in turn prepared for DNA testing in ICMP’s laboratory system. It also administers the DNA matching process and produces and archives DNA match reports, which are submitted to government authorities to assist them in the process of identifying missing persons.
Since ICMP’s DNA laboratory system went online in late 2001, ICMP has helped to make around 20,000 DNA-based identifications worldwide. ICMP maintains a standing capacity to work on up to 10,000 cases a year. This capacity is available to all countries to assist them in their effort to identify missing and disappeared persons.
“The work of the ICMP benefits people and communities affected by conflicts or human rights abuse across the world. The EU is impressed with the work that ICMP has accomplished so far, above all in ensuring dignity for families of the missing persons,” said Ambassador Wigemark. “Remaining missing persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina need to be located and identified by gathering all available means and resources. To that end, we have recently renewed our assistance to the ICMP. And the EU remains committed to support the efforts to address this important matter.”
”With the EU’s renewed financial and political support, ICMP will continue to help the BIH authorities to fulfill their obligations to the families of the missing to locate and identify persons missing as a result of the conflicts of the 1990s,” Matthew Holliday said. “More than 70 percent of the missing have been accounted for, which is an achievement unmatched anywhere else in the world – but there are still 8,000 missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the effort to account for these people must continue.”
ICMP is an international organization whose mandate is to secure the cooperation of governments, civil society organizations, justice institutions, international organizations and others in locating and identifying missing persons from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, crime, migration and other causes. As part of its programs, ICMP operates the world’s leading high-throughput DNA human identification facility.