Germany Supports Efforts to Find Missing and Disappeared Persons from the War in Ukraine

The Hague, 4 November 2022: Following a significant donation from Germany, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) will further strengthen its partnership with Ukraine, to direct highly advanced operational capacities at Ukraine’s institutions that are responsible for accounting for thousands of missing persons. The award of roughly 2.5 million Euros annually over three years, and the secondment of personnel from the German Federal Police (BKA) to ICMP, will have a major impact on efforts to locate and identify all victims from the on-going war.

On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, escalating an armed conflict that began in 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and pro-Russian separatists took control of eastern parts of Ukraine. In early April 2022, mass graves were discovered in Bucha, Irpin, and Makarivka, and in in September 2022 in Izyum and Lyman. As territory is de-occupied, more mass graves are expected to be found.

“Ukraine has well…

Western Balkans Governments Launch Unique Public Database of Missing Persons Cases

The Hague, 3 November 2022: As part of the Berlin Process, today in The Hague the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the Missing Persons Group (MPG), which comprises domestic institutions responsible for missing persons issues, from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia, launched a Regional Database of active missing persons cases from conflicts on the territory of the former Yugoslavia.

The creation of this unique, interactive database means that up-to-date records are now publicly available at all times, and it enables families of the missing and others to review existing records and provide online feedback to domestic institutions.

“The creation of this public database is a striking example of regional cooperation: it reflects a commitment to providing factual information and de-politicizing the issue of missing persons,” ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said today.  “The Regional Database will serve as a model for countries in every part of…

US Ambassador to BIH Visits Project for Identifying Srebrenica Genocide Victims

Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 26 October 2022: The meticulous process of identifying victims of the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina was the focus of a visit today by United States ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Michael John Murphy to see the work of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

At the Podrinje Identification Project, a facility established to assist with the identification of Srebrenica genocide victims, Ambassador Murphy, who was accompanied by the Deputy Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program, Samira Krehic, observed work by ICMP staff to assist Bosnia and Herzegovina in identifying persons missing from the conflict. The Podrinje Identification Project was established by ICMP in Tuzla in 1999 to ensure a dedicated process to identify the victims of the Srebrenica Genocide.

Using DNA-based identification methods, ICMP has assisted Bosnia and Herzegovina in the identification of the 75 percent of the 30,000 persons reported missing as a consequence…

ICMP supports Ukraine in locating and identifying missing persons from the war

Kharkiv, Ukraine, 7 October 2022 – Following a meeting with Deputy Interior Minister Meri Akopyan on 28 September, a team from the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) deployed together with the national police to Eastern Ukraine this week to learn more about the challenges to locate and identify missing persons from the on-going war.

The visit will help enhance a strategy to assist Ukraine in locating over 15,000 persons missing since the war began to judicial standards of evidence that will make it possible to hold perpetrators of atrocities to account in both international and domestic courts and provide the public with factual and credible information regarding disappeared persons and related crimes.

The ICMP team visited the regional Bureau of Forensic Expertise in Kharkiv and the Scientific and Research Expert and Forensic Center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs which are responsible for investigating missing persons cases, including identifying victims…

ICMP Expresses Condolences on the Death of Veljko Lazic

The Hague, 29 September 2022: On behalf of the Board of Commissioners and the staff of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), Matthew Holliday, ICMP Program Director for Europe has expressed his condolences to the Republika Srpska Organization of Imprisoned and Killed Soldiers and Missing Civilians following the death of the President of the organization, Veljko Lazic, on Thursday.

“Veljko was one of the key partners in the process of accounting for the missing and delivering truth and justice for victims in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Holliday said today.

For years, Mr. Lazic worked as the deputy president of the Republika Srpska Organization of Imprisoned and Killed Soldiers and Missing Civilians and after Nedeljko Mitrović passed away in 2019, he held the position of President.

Families of the missing and representatives of authorities from former Yugoslavia commemorate all victims of conflicts

Podgorica, 13 September 2022: Family associations of missing persons from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia gathered as the Regional Coordination Network and the Missing Persons Group (MPG) which comprises senior representatives of the domestic authorities in the Western Balkans are responsible for addressing missing persons issues commemorated all victims of conflicts on the territory of the former Yugoslavia at the Pobrezje Park in Podgorica, Montenegro.

“Together with the families of the missing, we are paying respect to all the victims of conflicts in the ’90s. Working as the Missing Persons Group, we will continue our cooperation to account for the remaining missing persons so all the families of the missing can achieve their right to truth and justice”, Dragan Djukanovic, President of the Commission on Missing Persons of Montenegro said today.

As a result of the conflicts in the ‘90s, more than 40,000 people went missing. To date, more…

ICMP DG Op-Ed: How the International Commission on Missing Persons works in Ukraine

The Hague, 30 August 2022: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is preparing to launch a major program in Ukraine. ICMP will work with government institutions and with families of the missing and civil society organizations to help the authorities develop a process that will make it possible to locate missing persons and reunite them with their families and also to identify human remains from mass and clandestine graves.

Ukrainian law and the international agreements that Ukraine has signed, including the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which Ukraine ratified in 2015, uphold the rights of families of the missing.

These include the right to the truth about the fate and whereabouts of family members, the right to an effective and official investigation, the right to seek, receive and impart Information, the right to form associations and communicate with international organizations, the right to family…

Families of the Missing and Disappeared Have the Right to Truth, Justice and Reparations

Artwork created by families of the missing for an exhibition organized by the Judy Organization for Relief and Development (JORD). The paintings are courtesy of JORD.

The Hague, 30 August 2022: – Accounting for missing persons is a central and indispensable element in efforts by countries and regions around the world to recover from conflict, disasters and other traumatic events, Kathryne Bomberger, the Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), said today.

Speaking on the occasion of the International Day of the Disappeared, Ms Bomberger noted that, throughout the world, authorities are bound by domestic law and international agreements, including the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, to fulfill obligations towards families of the missing.

To mark the International Day of the Disappeared, ICMP has published a Guide for Families of the Missing, which explains in detail the rights of families, including the right to the truth about the fate and whereabouts of family members, the right to an effective and official investigation, the right to seek, receive and impart…

ICMP’s Kevin Sullivan Wins 2022 Hubert Butler Essay Prize

The Hague, 11 August 2022: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), is proud to announce that one of our colleagues, Kevin Sullivan, has been awarded the internationally-recognized Hubert Butler Essay Prize for 2022. The prize promotes the art of essay-writing across Europe. Named in honor of one of Ireland’s most distinguished 20th-century writers, it reflects Hubert Butler’s interest in the common ground between the European nation states that emerged after the First World War, including his concern with the position of religious and ethnic minorities.

The theme of this year’s prize is “In dark times, what can be done to resist the abuse of political power”? Professor Roy Foster, chair of the judges’ panel, commended the essay by Sullivan, for its broad perspective and optimism and its support for the concept of “living in truth.”

Sullivan said: “It is an honour to have been awarded this prize. The topic offered…

ICMP Staffer Receives Dutch Royal Recognition

His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands has appointed Alexander Hug as an Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau. The award was presented to Mr. Hug, who is the head of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) Iraq Program, by Minister of Foreign Affairs Wopke Hoekstra, on 15 July 2022.

The appointment recognizes Mr. Hug’s actions after Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by a Russian BUK missile over eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014, killing all 298 passengers and crew.

Mr. Hug, who was at the time the Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), led the first team to reach the crash site, and negotiated access despite obstruction from armed men occupying the area. He and his team helped to secure the site, provided access to forensic investigators and facilitated the return of…