ICMP Welcomes Two New Commissioners

  

The Hague 5 March 2019: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is pleased to announce that former Foreign Minister of El Salvador María Eugenia Brizuela de Ávila and former Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Bert Koenders will join ICMP’s Board of Commissioners.

ICMP Commissioners are actively involved in addressing the global challenge of missing persons and represent ICMP at the highest diplomatic and governmental levels worldwide.

“The Board of Commissioners is delighted to welcome two such distinguished public figures to its ranks,” ICMP Chair Thomas Miller said today. “As ICMP extends its support to countries around the world, it is important that the Board has the capacity to engage effectively at a global level, and I believe that our capacity to do this will be enhanced by the involvement of our…

ICMP Laboratory in The Hague Utilizes New Technology for Human Identification

The Hague, 5 March 2019: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has made the first human identifications using technology now being developed at ICMP’s laboratory in The Hague. The matches were made possible by the hugely increased analytical power of next-generation DNA technologies, known as Massively Parallel Sequencing (MPS).

“The use of MPS, which ICMP is developing in cooperation with academic colleagues and the international technology company QIAGEN, can achieve results in highly challenging cases, where current technologies have failed,” said Dr. Thomas J. Parsons, ICMP Director of Science & Technology, adding that MPS also enables identifications to be made between more distant relatives.

“We are excited to see ICMP successfully identify individuals once counted as lost, using state-of-the-art technologies developed through our longstanding collaboration. This collaboration has resulted in a custom designed next-generation sequencing panel perfectly suited for ICMP’s missing persons applications, and is based on QIAGEN’s GeneReader NGS…

ICMP Laboratory in The Hague Delivers BIH Identifications Using New Technology

Sarajevo, 27 February 2019: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has submitted three new DNA match reports to the BIH Missing Persons Institute (MPI) using technology that is now being developed at ICMP’s laboratory in The Hague. The matches – which mean that three previously unidentified sets of human remains have been identified – were made possible by the hugely increased analytical power of next generation DNA technologies, known as Massively Parallel Sequencing (MPS).

“ICMP’s use of MPS offers new hope for families who are still waiting to learn the fate of their loved ones,” the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program, Matthew Holliday, said today. He said the number of new identifications enabled by MPS will be relatively small at first, but that it nonetheless represents a significant step forward. “The new technology can achieve results in highly challenging cases, where current technologies have failed and it also…

An Effective Approach To the Issue of Missing Migrants

The Hague, 21 February 2019: At a workshop organized in Malta today by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), in cooperation with Missing People UK, participants noted that states in the Mediterranean have the means to account for large numbers of missing migrants and refugees, and can do this effectively if they adopt a pragmatic and systematic approach.

The workshop, entitled “Accounting for the Missing Is an Investment in Peace”, included testimony from individuals who have travelled on migration routes and who have experienced at first hand the disappearance of a loved one on their journey. It was part of the “Lost in Migration” conference organized by the President’s Foundation for the Well-being of Society and the NGO Missing Children Europe.

“Families of the missing are always the center, and often at the forefront of the process of accounting for missing persons, and…

Accounting for the Missing Is an Investment in Peace

The Hague, 19 February 2019: The Mediterranean remains the scene of daily tragedies, even if the reduction in the number of migrants reaching Europe has reduced media coverage of these tragedies, the Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), Kathryne Bomberger, wrote in an opinion piece that appeared in The Times of Malta today.

She noted that, “while fewer refugees have tried to make the journey, fatalities and disappearances have continued. In the first month of 2019, the number was already well into the hundreds,” and she added that refugees and migrants sent back to embarkation ports, many of them in Libya, have routinely been subject to arbitrary detention.

Ms Bomberger highlighted “an urgent need to mobilize existing capacities among European countries such as Cyprus, Greece, Malta and Italy”. She pointed out that all four countries expressed a strong interest during an ICMP meeting held in Rome in June…

Srebrenica: No Room for Revisionism

The Hague, 15 February: In August 2018, the Republika Srpska (RS) National Assembly annulled the “Report of the Commission for Investigation of the Events in and around Srebrenica between 10 and 19 July 1995”, which had been produced for the RS Government in 2004. The current RS Government has now announced the setting up of two new commissions to investigate events in and around Srebrenica and in Sarajevo during the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

For more than two decades, the International Commission on Missing persons (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 to truth, justice and reparations, regardless of national, ethnic or religious affiliation. The facts established by the RS Government Report 15 years ago have been confirmed by international and domestic criminal courts, and they are supported by systematic forensic…

ICMP Charts Future Path with Iraqi Authorities

The Hague, 15 February 2019: Representatives of the Iraqi institutions dealing with the issue of missing persons met throughout this week at the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) Headquarters in The Hague to examine ways in which ICMP can help Iraq to account for hundreds of thousands of missing people, including those who have gone missing as a result of Da’esh crimes.

The meeting concluded with a set of recommendations on concrete steps through which ICMP can assist the authorities of Iraq during 2019 and beyond. These recommendations respond to a set of challenges defined in “Mass Graves in Iraq” a document produced by the Department of Protection and Mass Graves Affairs of the Martyrs’ Foundation.

In Iraq, between 250,000 and one million people have gone missing from decades of conflict and human rights abuse. Iraq has taken very positive steps to address…

ICMP Welcomes Continued Dutch Support To Address the Global Missing Persons Challenge 

Photo is a courtesy of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The Hague, 22 January 2019: The Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is a key strategic partner for the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), supporting ICMP’s Headquarters in The Hague and supporting its core functions and country programs around the world, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said today.  

Ms Bomberger was speaking after a meeting in The Hague with Foreign Minister Stef Blok. She highlighted the fact that “the Netherlands was one of the key players behind the signing – with the United Kingdom, Belgium, Luxembourg and Sweden – of the ICMP Agreement in December 2014,” and noted that the Agreement, which establishes ICMP as the only international organization in the world that exclusively addresses the issue of missing and disappeared persons, “reflects the emerging international consensus about the nature and scale of the global missing persons issue and the urgent need to tackle this issue in a coherent and effective way.”   

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) facilitated ICMP’s move to Headquarters in The Hague in 2015 and also ICMP’s laboratory transition to The Hague, which was completed at the end of 2017. Since this relocation, ICMP has developed its existing partnership…

Meeting of ICMP Conference of States Parties

The Hague, 18 December: Representatives of states and organizations that support the work of the International Commission on Missing persons (ICMP) gathered today at ICMP’s headquarters in The Hague for the second meeting of the ICMP Conference of States Parties (CSP). The first CSP meeting was held in October 2015, just under a year after ICMP became a treaty-based intergovernmental organization.

At today’s meeting, Chile assumed the presidency of the CSP, taking over from the United Kingdom. The meeting was chaired by Chile’s Ambassador to the Netherlands Maria Teresa Infante. Ambassador Infante opened the meeting by asking colleagues to observe a minute’s silence to commemorate the contribution of the late Wim Kok, to ICMP and to the global effort to account for missing persons. Mr Kok, a former Dutch prime minister, became an ICMP Commissioner in 2002 and was…

Profiles of the Missing: Call for Coordinated Action To Address Issue of Missing Persons from the Syrian Conflict

The Hague 10 December 2018: Families of missing persons are entitled to solidarity, from governments and others, Her Majesty Queen Noor said today, adding that, as well as solidarity, “they need us to understand the nature of their struggle. We must listen and we must act.”

HM Queen Noor was speaking at a conference on “Syria: Effective Responses” organized at the Representation of the European Commission in Berlin today by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

ICMP’s Syria/MENA Program, launched with EU funding in 2017, is working on a range of activities including collecting personal data from families – a key step toward establishing an effective process that can be expanded after a peace settlement. In Berlin today, ICMP brought representatives of families of the missing, from Syria and elsewhere, together with experts and senior policymakers to examine strategies that families can adopt in order to access their rights to…