The Search for Missing Yazidi’s Must Be Advanced

The Hague, 3 August 2022 – Today marks the 8th anniversary of crimes committed against the Yazidi population in Iraq. When Da’esh invaded the Iraqi province of Sinjar in 2014, more than 5,000 men were killed and 7,000 people, mainly women and children, were abducted. A significant number of those who were abducted are still missing.

On this somber anniversary the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) reaffirms its commitment to help the Iraqi authorities find missing persons and investigate their disappearance and to help Yazidi families of the missing secure their rights to truth and justice.

ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said today that “surviving families must be able to access their fundamental right to truth, justice and reparations.” She commended the courage and strength that has been shown by Yazidi families and other families of the missing in Iraq, as they demand that the remaining missing persons are found and…

Families of the Victims Must Be Allowed to Mourn Their Loved Ones at the Sites of Atrocities and the Exhumation Sites

The Hague, 14 July 2022: The International Commision on Missing Persons (ICMP) strongly condemns the decision of Bratunac mayor to deny Srebrenica genocide survivors the access to the Kravica agricultural cooperative site to commemorate the killing of their loved ones on this location.

Article 20 of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Law on Missing Persons prescribes that families of the missing or their associations may request that locations of burials and exhumations (individual or joint) are marked, regardless of the number of victims. Therefore, the decision by Bratunac mayor not only prevents the families of the victims of their basic right to mourn their loved ones, but it is also illegal.

The decision to prevent families of the victims to mourn the loss of their loved ones undermines the reconciliation process and creates new divisions between citizens in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Political leaders on all levels have the responsibility to be at…

Srebrenica 27 Years Later – The Facts About the Genocide are Irrefutable

The Hague, 11 July 2022: To deny the facts about the Genocide that were adjudicated by two international courts, undermines the right to truth and justice for survivors and for humanity, Kathryne Bomberger, Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), said today.

Speaking on the 27th anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide, Ms. Bomberger said: “The International Commission on Missing Persons assisted in the investigation of the Srebrenica Genocide and provided irrefutable evidence of the identity of almost 7,000 of the more than 8,000 persons whose mortal remains were concealed in numerous mass graves in eastern Bosnia. As the investigation continues, more persons will be found.”

ICMP introduced a DNA-led process of identification that has made it possible to account for almost 90 percent of the Srebrenica victims. Today, 50 victims identified in the last 12 months were laid to rest at the Potocari Memorial Center outside Srebrenica.

Ten of the…

Policy Coordination Group: Accounting for Missing Persons Is Fundamental to Establishing Peace in Syria

The Hague, 23 June 2022: Implementing a systematic process to account for missing and disappeared persons in Syria must be a central element in peace negotiations and can contribute to peace implementation in a fundamental way, participants at a meeting of the Policy Coordination Group (PCG) said this week.

Meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday in The Hague, the PCG, a Syrian-led initiative on the missing and disappeared facilitated by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), discussed a policy paper on mass graves.

ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said the missing persons process must be understood in the context of rebuilding Syrian society after decades of dictatorship and more than a decade of conflict. She said the PCG policy paper on mass graves, as well as other documents produced by the group, could drive fundamental change after a peace settlement, in terms of accountability, transparency and respect for the rule of law.

“Mass graves continue…

An Effective Strategy is Urgently Needed To Account for Missing and Disappeared Persons from the Syria Conflict

The Hague, 22 June 2022: – More than 130,000 people are missing as a result of the present conflict in Syria. This includes people who are missing as a consequence of summary executions, arbitrary and incommunicado detention, kidnapping and abduction, enslavement, chemical attacks, and other human rights abuses. The fighting and day-to-day ravages of war have also resulted in combatants and civilians of many nationalities going missing. In addition, migrants and refugees fleeing the region are missing, including children who have been separated from their families, people who have drowned on the Mediterranean crossing, and victims of human trafficking. Syrians and others are also missing as a result of human rights abuses perpetrated in Syria before the current conflict began.

An effective strategy is urgently needed to locate and identify such a large number of people who have gone missing over a protracted period of time and to secure the…

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…