Intergovernmental Roundtable: Countries in the Middle East & Europe Must Cooperate to Address the Issue of Missing Syrians

The Hague, 22 June 2022– The Third Intergovernmental Roundtable on Syria convened by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) was held today under the title “Accounting for the Missing Is an Investment in Peace”. The roundtable, convened virtually, examined effective means of cooperation among European and Middle Eastern countries that are hosting large numbers of Syrian refugees to address the issue of people who have gone missing in Syria or on migratory routes or in destination countries.

“At previous roundtables we recognized that this is a shared challenge that requires a shared solution,” ICMP Commissioner Dirk Brengelmann said in his opening remarks. “It cannot be adequately addressed by individual countries or by groups of countries in the Middle East or in Europe – it can only be addressed effectively if the countries of origin, transit and destination cooperate.”

ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger stressed that states have an obligation to investigate…

Syrian Civil Society Networking Conference: Opportunities for Collective Action to Influence Policy

The Hague, 21 June 2022: – Syrian civil society representatives identified challenges and opportunities to unify the efforts of Syrian networks working on the issue of missing persons in the Syrian context, at a virtual event hosted by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) this week.

Speakers highlighted the importance of forging and strengthening partnerships among civil society actors working on this issue; they emphasized the need to strengthen collective action and identified opportunities for civil society to influence policymaking. Recommendations to promote inclusiveness and diversity within collectives were also proposed.

ICMP presented a Mapping Tool and a Resource Library platform, which support information exchange and capacity sharing among civil society actors.

“The best that society can offer to the families of victims, the missing, the detainees and survivors is to unite and combine efforts so that they all work towards uncovering the fate of the missing and securing access to justice…

ICMP Moves Forward with Program to Help Ukraine Account for Thousands of Missing

The Hague, 30 May 2022: Ukraine’s Prosecutor General, Iryna Venediktova, visited the Headquarters of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in The Hague today. After touring ICMP’s DNA laboratory, Ms Venediktova and ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger discussed ICMP’s program to help the authorities in Ukraine establish an effective, long-term strategy to account for thousands of people who have gone missing as a result of the conflict.

In April 2022, the authorities requested urgent ICMP assistance, based on an exchange of diplomatic notes and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in Kyiv in 2021. The MoU includes ICMP support for capacity building for Ukraine, including through assistance with DNA-based human identification, establishing a Central Register of Missing Persons, and building consensus between civil society and the authorities.

“Efficient data collection will play an indispensable role in the process,” Director-General Bomberger said after her meeting with the Prosecutor General. “Tens of thousands of…

Germany Continues Support for ICMP To Help Account for Missing Persons from Syria and Iraq  

The Hague, 30 May 2022 – The German Federal Foreign Office (FFO) has made a new financial donation to support efforts by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) to help account for missing persons from Iraq and Syria. The donation will support activities over a period of eight months.

“Germany has been a key partner in ICMP’s work to ensure that States uphold their responsibility to locate all missing persons and investigate the circumstances of their disappearance regardless of their ethnic, religious or national background,” ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said today. “The latest donation will make it possible to help Iraq maintain the momentum to find missing persons and to continue ICMP’s efforts to help Syrian families report their missing loved ones.”

ICMP has been assisting Iraq since 2005 providing training and expertise and helping Iraq to create a sustainable process to find the more than 250,000 persons missing since…

ICMP supports Iraqi authorities in their quest to find all missing persons

Baghdad, 16 May 2022 –  The International Commission on Missing Person (ICMP) supports Iraqi authorities, including the National Team, represented by the Directorate for Protection and Affairs of Mass Graves / Martyrs Foundation and the Medico-Legal Directorate / Ministry of Health, both technically and logistically, in their quest to find all missing persons, regardless of the cause of their disappearance.

ICMP has assisted Iraq since 2003. An ICMP office was opened in Baghdad in 2008, and in Erbil in 2010. ICMP worked with concerned authorities working on missing persons, and supported governmental efforts to establish Iraqi expertise to work in the field and in DNA laboratories, which was one of ICMP’s goals since the beginning in Iraq.

ICMP has also worked with Civil Society Organizations to develop and enhance their abilities to have an effective participation in locating missing persons; ICMP today supports excavations such as the one currently on-going in…

ICMP and Iraq National Team Distribute Mass Graves Protection Guidelines

Baghdad, 16 May 2022: – To mark Iraq’s National Day of Mass Graves, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) produced guidelines on legal standards and protocols for the protection of mass graves. The guidelines flyers distributed, in Arabic, Kurdish and English, were jointly prepared by ICMP and the Iraq National Team.

“The guidelines presented today offer practical information that will help families of the missing and other stakeholders to play an effective role in the missing persons process,” ICMP Director-General, Kathryne Bomberger, said.

Ms Bomberger noted that ICMP has participated, along with the key Iraqi institutions, in developing a long-term strategy to account for the missing, and a number of initiatives, including work on mass graves protection, can be launched as soon as a new government is formed.

In 2007, Iraq’s Council of Ministers designated 16 May as the National Day of Mass Graves. Iraqi authorities estimate that between 250,000…

ICMP Statement on Tadamon Massacre

photo credit: footage from the Guardian Video

The Hague, 12 May 2022: Recently circulated videos taken in Syria show blindfolded, unarmed civilians being shot by forces of the Assad regime. The victims are shown falling into a mass grave in the neighborhood of Tadamon. These killings are believed to have been perpetrated during a larger massacre in 2013. They are evidence of extrajudicial killings that reflect the horrors endured by the Syrian people over the past eleven years.

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) supports the significant work of Syrian civil society organizations and their efforts to document missing persons cases and advocate for victims and their families. ICMP is working to set in place a process that will account for all…

Syria, Brussels VI: ICMP-facilitated Policy Coordination Group Presents Recommendations on Missing, Disappeared and Detained

The Hague, 4 May 2022: – The Syrian Policy Coordination Group (PCG) presented recommendations on the issue of missing, disappeared and detained persons, at an online Brussels VI event facilitated by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) with the participation of the Delegation of the European Union to Syria.

During the event, the PCG presented steps designed to develop a strategic policy framework to support the process of establishing effective domestic, regional and international mechanisms to account for Syria’s missing and disappeared persons and to uphold the rights of their families.

Today’s event follows the eight session of the PCG and a roundtable in late March with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), at which participants discussed the proposed new international mechanism for Syria’s Missing and Disappeared.

“Over 130,000 persons are missing from the conflict and people continue to be disappeared on a regular basis…

Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Visits ICMP Headquarters

The Hague, 25 April 2022 – Today, as a part of his official visit to the Netherlands, the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Šefik Džaferović, visited the Headquarters and DNA laboratory of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and met with ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger.

Ms. Bomberger and Mr. Džaferović discussed ongoing efforts to account for the 7,000 persons who are still missing from the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1990s.

“In the last 25 years, with ICMP assistance and through the pioneering use of DNA, the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina have been able to account for 75 percent of the 30,000 persons who were reported missing from the conflict,” Ms Bomberger said. “This is a ratio that has not been equaled in any other post-conflict country.”

She said the process has enabled families of the missing “to secure their rights to truth and justice”…





ISSUE DATE: 22 April 2022

CLOSING DATE: 20 May 2022


The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) invites associations or organizations of families of missing persons to submit an application for its “Small Grants for the Associations of Families of Missing Persons and NGOs from Bosnia and Herzegovina 2022-2023”.

ICMP is an independent, treaty-based international organization with more than 20 years of experience in 40 countries. It is the only international organization tasked exclusively to work on the issue of missing persons. It helps governments build rule-of-law institutions that successfully and impartially search for and identify missing persons, and it supports efforts to enable families of the…