20 November 2015: Three senior representatives of the Kosovo Forensic Agency, Chief Executive Officer Blerim Olluri, Director of Serology and DNA Operations Sokol Dedaj, and Head of the DNA Laboratory Fatmir Ademi, visited ICMP’s facilities in Sarajevo today, where they were briefed by Head of the Western Balkans Program Matthew Holliday, and senior ICMP forensic sciences staff.
Today’s visit is part of a four-day fact-finding trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina which has included visits to ICMP’s Identification Coordination Division and the Podrinje Identification Project, both in Tuzla, and ICMP’s laboratory in Banja Luka. In October, ICMP technical staff visited the KFA in Prishtina to assess ways in which ICMP can provide technical assistance to the KFA.
The KFA is primarily a crime laboratory. It was established in 2003 and has received extensive support from the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program.
Blerim Olluri noted that while the Kosovo Forensic Agency already has advanced laboratory facilities, ICMP’s database technology and “fluent” DNA extraction and profiling methods could be useful, and he proposed a follow-up visit to ICMP by a small number of KFA experts to study operating procedures.
“The goal of this activity is to help the KFA strengthen its capacity to conduct criminal casework, particularly with regard to enhanced DNA extraction, standard operating procedures and quality assurance,” said Mathew Holliday, adding that discussions had also covered “systems and best practice that can be deployed in the event of natural disasters.”
ICMP has engaged in similar activities, in Libya and Iraq, in partnership with the Netherlands Forensic Institute, one of the world’s leading forensic agencies, which facilitates effective law enforcement and administration of justice from a scientific perspective.
With a standing capacity to process 5,000 DNA profiles per year, ICMP has been able to help governments to account for around 20,000 missing persons worldwide, and it has successfully applied DNA-identification techniques in the wake of major natural disasters, working with INTERPOL and other agencies.
ICMP endeavors to secure the co-operation of governments and other authorities in locating and identifying persons missing as a result of conflicts, human rights abuses, disasters, organized violence and other causes and to assist them in doing so. ICMP also supports the work of other organizations in their efforts, encourages public involvement in its activities and contributes to the development of appropriate expressions of commemoration and tribute to the missing.