Kyiv, 31 August 2023: On the International Day of the Disappeared, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the National Police of Ukraine (NPU) signed a Protocol that will enable the Main Investigative Department of the NPU to use the Integrated Data Management System (iDMS) developed by ICMP to process data to locate, reunify and identify people who have gone missing as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The signing of the Protocol marks the beginning of ICMP’s campaign to collect data from Ukrainian families residing outside of the country who have missing relatives from the ongoing war.
Under the Protocol, signed by ICMP Europe Director and Head of the Ukraine Program Matthew Holliday and Deputy Chairman of the National Police of Ukraine Maksym Tsutskiridze, the NPU will be able to access DNA profiles provided by relatives of missing persons and stored in the iDMS, as long as the relatives has given their written permission; they will also be able to access DNA profiles from tooth or bone, which have been processed by ICMP on the basis of the order of either the investigator or prosecutor; as well as DNA Match Reports delivered by ICMP concerning genetic samples submitted by or shared with the NPU.
ICMP and the NPU, together with the Expert Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in July this year agreed ICMP will collect data, including reference samples, from Ukrainian families of the missing who are outside Ukraine, in support of identification efforts in Ukraine.
“On the International Day of the Disappeared, the National Police of Ukraine expresses its high respect and gratitude for the efforts made by the ICMP in the field of searching for missing persons, in particular citizens of Ukraine. Signing the Protocol will strengthen our cooperation and, I believe, will contribute to resolving the fate of many thousands of persons missing as a consequence of the Russian aggression on Ukraine,” said Serhii Panteleiev, First Deputy Chief of the Main Investigative Department of the National Police of Ukraine.
“ICMP’s mandate is to help governments locate missing persons as a result of war and other circumstances. We look forward to supporting Ukraine in the formidable task of locating tens of thousands of missing persons and investigating their disappearances to international judicial standards. One example of this is the need to engage in a DNA-led process of identifications, which will require the collection of data from all families of the missing, including from thousands of families of the missing who are refugees in other European countries,” said Matthew Holliday, ICMP Program Director Europe.
ICMP is a treaty-based intergovernmental organization with Headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands. Its mandate is to secure the co-operation of governments and other authorities in locating persons missing as a result of conflicts, human rights abuses, disasters, organized violence and other causes and to assist them in doing so.
ICMP was one of the organizations that helped to identify victims of Flight MH17, shot down by a Russian missile over eastern Ukraine en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in July 2014. It has recommended legislative and institutional measures to enhance Ukraine’s capacity to account for missing persons. Many of these recommendations had already been implemented before the 2022 Russian invasion. In April 2022, the authorities in Ukraine requested urgent ICMP assistance. ICMP deployed staff in the Spring of 2022, opened an office in Kyiv in July, and launched a comprehensive program to help the Ukrainian institutions account for those who are missing as a result of the Russian invasion.
ICMP’s Ukraine Program is supported by the Government of Canada, the European Union Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI), the US State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL), and the German Federal Foreign Office.