Press Release: A Moral and Legal Challenge

The Hague, 30 August 2019: As countries all over the world struggle to address the issue of large numbers of missing persons – from conflict, natural disasters, irregular migration and other causes – it is important to remember that an international legal framework has been set in place that lays out the obligations of governments to take effective action, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger wrote in an opinion piece published today to mark International Day of the Disappeared.

Ms Bomberger stressed that social and scientific strategies have been developed that make it possible to account for much higher numbers of missing persons than would have been imagined even 20 years ago.  In the Western Balkans, for example, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has spearheaded an effort that has made it possible to account for well over 70 percent of the 40,000 people who went missing in the conflicts of…

A Moral and Legal Challenge

By Kathryne Bomberger,

In the course of today, in every part of the world, people will disappear.

Syria, Libya, Burundi, and Sudan are in the midst of unrest where enforced disappearance has become a politico-military tactic. Countries such as Iraq, Sri Lanka, and – even after the passage of nearly half a century – Vietnam are trying to address a huge and painful legacy of missing persons from past conflicts.

Given that the majority of those who go missing in conflict are men, multiple social obstacles and risks accrue to women survivors, who may be rendered more vulnerable to abusive behavior, including sexual exploitation.

The issue of missing and disappeared persons has intensified in the course of the last two decades. Climate change and environmental degradation have led to natural disasters and mass migration. Around 300,000 perished in the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, many of them buried in mass graves without any identification….

ICMP Supports Missing Persons Dialogue in Colombia

Bogotá, 26 August 2019: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) will participate in the 2nd “Meeting for the Truth”, organized over the next three days in Pasto, in southern Colombia, by the Truth Commission and the Search Unit of Persons Listed as Disappeared.

This follows three preparatory events organized by the Truth Commission and the Search Unit of Persons Listed as Disappeared with the Support of ICMP, between 10 and 14 August in Villavicencio, Barrancabermeja and Medellín.

ICMP’s Colombia Program, which is funded by the European Union, was launched at the beginning of this year. It is actively engaged in helping stakeholders to sustain an effective long-term strategy to account for more than 85,000 persons who are missing as a result of the conflict. ICMP’s mandate under the 2016 Peace Agreement is to support the technical capacity of the Search Unit for Missing Persons and to strengthen the capacity of…

Commemorating the Fifth Anniversary Of the Massacre in Kocho Village, Iraq

Erbil, 15 August 2019: Today is the fifth anniversary of the occupation of Kocho village in the Sinjar region of northern Iraq, when Yezidis were massacred, and large numbers of women and children were abducted and enslaved. The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is helping partners in Iraq to to locate, recover and identify victims of the Da’esh massacre, ensuring that evidence is documented in a manner that it is admissible in an international court.

ICMP is working with the Government of Iraq, through Mr Mohammed Tahir Al-Tamimi, Head of the Operations Room for Coordination of Iraqi Authorities’ Efforts in Liberated Areas, assisting the Iraqi National Team – the Mass Graves Directorate of the Martyrs’ Foundation, the Ministry of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs, and the Medico-Legal Directorate in Baghdad. ICMP also maintains an agreement with the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh (UNITAD), to…

ICMP Donates DNA Lab Equipment To Federation Police Directorate

Sarajevo, 15 August: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has donated the Federation Police Directorate with a comprehensive range of equipment that will help to improve forensic capacity of the police in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

At the ICMP premises today, the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program Matthew Holliday presented the Deputy Director of the Police, Ensad Korman with the accompanying documentation for the equipment, which includes a range of precision pipettes, centrifuges, a UV stratalinker, and essential laboratory hardware and furniture.

On this occasion, Ensad Korman thanked ICMP for the donation. “Having in mind financial constraints that we have in our work, this equipment will be new impulse for our work and we will put it to use immediately”.

Matthew Holliday pointed out that one of ICMP’s goals it to strengthen technical forensic capacities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the current donation to the Federation Police Directorate, following similar donations…

Upholding a Transparent and Truthful Account Of What Happened in Srebrenica is Essential for Peace  

The Hague, 11 July 2019:  Twenty-four years after the Srebrenica Genocide, it is essential to continue efforts to account for those who are still missing and to bring those who were responsible to justice, International Commission on Missing persons (ICMP) Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said today.

ICMP scientific data concerning persons missing from the fall of Srebrenica has been admitted in evidence at trials before the ICTY and courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina. To date, 20 individuals have been tried at the ICTY for crimes related to Srebrenica. Of these, 15 have been convicted. The BIH State Court has put 56 individuals on trial for crimes related to Srebrenica of whom 37 have been convicted.

For more than two decades, ICMP has led the effort to account for those who went missing during the conflict and to uphold the rights of families of the missing, regardless of national, ethnic or religious affiliation.


Berlin Process Poznan Meeting: Missing Persons Group Maintains Effort To Account for Those Still Missing from 1990s Conflicts in Former Yugoslavia

Sarajevo, 4 July 2019: A dedicated meeting on accounting for persons missing from the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia was held today in the framework of the 6th Berlin Process Summit in Poznan, Poland.

Last July, at the 5th Berlin Process Summit in London, the leaders of the 14 participating countries (Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia and the United Kingdom) signed a Joint Declaration asserting the need to intensify multilateral cooperation to locate and/or identify the 12,000 persons who are still missing from the conflicts as an important measure to ensure peace and stability in the region.

In the last two decades, by ensuring the cooperation of the relevant post-conflict governments, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) spearheaded a regional effort that has made it possible to account for 28,000 of the 40,000 people who were missing…

ICMP Supports Iraqi Partners in Third Phase Of Mass Grave Exhumations in Kocho, Sinjar 

Baghdad, 27 June 2019. As part of its continuous support for the authorities in Iraq, a team from the Archeology and Anthropology Department of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is working on the third phase of exhumations of mass graves in the village of Kochoin the Sinjar area of Nineveh Province 

The ICMP team is providing technical expertise and resources to support the Iraqi National Team, which is working with the UN Investigative Team (UNITAD) that is tasked with supporting accountability for crimes committed by Da’esh. 

“ICMP has a unique collection of expertise, which it has developed by working on efforts to account for large numbers of missing persons in many parts of the world,” the Head of ICMP’s Iraq Program, Adi Rizvic, said today. “It is essential that the exhumations in Kocho

International Organizations Meet at ICMP To Coordinate Action on Migration 


The Hague, 17 June 2019The International Commission on Missing Persons brought key international organizations together at its Headquarters in The Hague today to take part in a consultative roundtable on next steps in the Joint Process to Account for Persons Missing as a Result of Migration in the Mediterranean Region. 

In June last year, at a conference organized by ICMP in Rome, Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Malta asserted their intention to develop a Joint Process to coordinate their responses to the issue of missing migrantsThe Joint Process countries held their second meeting on 13 June at ICMP Headquarters in The Hague. 

At today’s roundtable, ICMP presented the findings of the survey it carried out, as part of the Joint Process, at the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019 to assess the scope and extent of investigatory capacities…

Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Malta Meet at ICMP For the 2nd meeting of the Joint Process on Accounting for Missing Migrants   


13 June 2019: Meeting at the Headquarters of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in The Hague today, representatives of Cyprus, Greece, Italy, and Malta participated in the second meeting of the Joint Process to further discuss cooperation on addressing the large number of people who continue to go missing on Mediterranean migration routes despite a reduction in the number of migrants arriving in Europe.  

Despite the decrease in the number of arrivals in Europe, more than 500 persons are reported to have died or to have gone missing in the Mediterranean region since the beginning of 2019. Globally, since 2014, more than 31,000 persons have been reported missing or deceased along migratory routes.  

Having met for the first time in Rome on 11 June 2018, the government representatives at the second meeting of the Joint Process discussed an…