One Year on, Western Balkans Shared Database Remains Crucial to Regional Efforts to Find the Missing

Photo from the launch of the Regional Database in The Hague, November 3, 2022.

The Hague, 3 November 2023: Today marks the one-year anniversary of the launch of the Regional Database of active missing persons cases from conflicts on the territory of former Yugoslavia. The Database was launched by the Western Balkans Missing Persons Group (MPG), which comprises Heads and other senior representatives of institutions from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia that are responsible for accounting for missing persons. The MPG was established with the support of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in November 2018.

The Regional Database provides the MPG members with a modern software platform for the exchange of data in real time data and families of the missing with accurate and up-to-date information on missing persons cases from the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. Despite political challenges, enduring cooperation among domestic institutions in the region has been instrumental in maintaining this vital resource.

“The Regional Database,…

ICMP and Yazda Global Organization Sign Memorandum of Understanding

Iraq, 31 October 2023: – The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and Yazda Global Organization, a prominent community-led NGO that works to provide humanitarian aid and justice to survivors of Da’esh, particularly the Yazidi community, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) formalizing cooperation to support families of missing persons in Iraq.

The MoU prioritizes joint initiatives, including providing assistance to an Iraqi government-led reference sample collection campaign designed to identify human remains exhumed from mass graves. Both parties will also work to ensure that families of the missing are fully informed about their rights to truth, justice and reparations.

ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said today’s MoU “underscores our collective mission to come together and assist families of the missing. The search for missing persons is a state obligation and a state-led activity, but it must have families at its core.” She expressed confidence that the ICMP-Yazda collaboration “will be…

ICMP Signs Cooperation Agreements with Ukraine’s Justice and Health Ministries

Kyiv, 18 October 2023 – The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) today signed agreements with the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Health of Ukraine as part of its program to help the authorities harmonize their efforts to account for tens of thousands of people who are missing as a result of the Russian invasion and ongoing war.

The Memorandum on Cooperation signed with the Ministry of Justice will support efforts to enhance investigations into missing persons cases, including a DNA-led identification process and other techniques used to locate missing persons in cooperation with the relevant domestic institutions. This agreement will contribute to:

  • the effectiveness of investigations into missing persons cases caused by crimes against humanity, primarily against the civilian population of Ukraine;
  • fast and effective international support in forensic examinations, with a view to strengthening human rights;
  • harmonization and development of advanced data systems capabilities to ensure…

(Albanian) Grupi i Personave të Zhdukur të Ballkanit Perëndimor Thekson punën bashkëpunuese gjatë Samitit të Procesit të Berlinit në Tiranë

Tiranë, 16 tetor 2023: Pavarësisht tensioneve politike në Ballkanin Perëndimor, është bërë përparim i rëndësishëm në llogaritjen e atyre që janë ende të zhdukur nga konfliktet e viteve 1990. Në një raport të paraqitur sot në Samitin e Procesit të Berlinit në Tiranë, Grupi i Personave të Zhdukur të Ballkanit Perëndimor (MPG) theksoi rezultatet praktike që janë arritur përmes bashkëpunimit të fokusuar shumëpalësh midis agjencive përgjegjëse qeveritare.

Raporti i katërt i performancës së MPG, që mbulon aktivitetet dypalëshe të institucioneve vendase të personave të zhdukur ndërmjet 1 korrikut 2022 dhe 1 korrikut 2023, fokusohet në zbatimin e Planit Kuadër shumëpalësh që u nënshkrua në nëntor 2018 në selinë e Komisionit Ndërkombëtar për Personat e Zhdukur (ICMP). ) në Hagë nga institucionet vendase nga rajoni që janë përgjegjëse për llogaritjen e personave të zhdukur.

MPG përbëhet nga drejtues dhe përfaqësues të tjerë të lartë të këtyre institucioneve. MPG-ja është e angazhuar në…

Western Balkans Missing Persons Group Highlights Cooperative Work During Berlin Process Summit in Tirana

Tirana, 16 October 2023: Despite political tensions in the Western Balkans, significant progress has been made in accounting for those who are still missing from the conflicts of the 1990s. In a report presented today at the Berlin Process Summit in Tirana, the Western Balkans Missing Persons Group (MPG) highlighted practical results that have been achieved through focused multilateral cooperation among responsible government agencies.

The fourth MPG Performance Report, covering bilateral activities of domestic missing persons institutions between 1 July 2022 and 1 July 2023, focuses on the implementation of the multilateral Framework Plan that was signed in November 2018 at the Headquarters of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in The Hague by domestic institutions from the region that are responsible for accounting for missing persons.

The MPG comprises Heads and other senior representatives of these institutions. The MPG is engaged in resolving the issues defined under the Framework…

(ALBANIAN) ICMP dhuron pajisje esenciale për të forcuar Agjencinë Forenzike të Kosovës

Prishtinë 11 tetor 2023: Në një lëvizje të rëndësishme që ka për qëllim forcimin e kapaciteteve lokale në testimin e ADN-së lidhur me personat e zhdukur, Komisioni Ndërkombëtar për Personat e Zhdukur (ICMP), i mbështetur nga Agjencia Suedeze e Bashkëpunimit për Zhvillim Ndërkombëtar (SIDA) dhe Ministria Italiane e Punëve të Jashtme, ka dhuruar pajisje thelbësore për Agjencinë Forenzike të Kosovës (AFK)

Kjo nismë është pjesë e një projekti më të gjerë për të ndihmuar në llogaridhënjen e personave të zhdukur nga konflikti i Kosovës. Sipas këtij projekti, ICMP lehtësoi një vlerësim gjithëpërfshirës të kapaciteteve të ADN-së të Agjencinë Forenzike të Kosovës (AFK), duke u mbështetur në bashkëpunimin dhe trajnimin e mëparshëm të ekspertëve të AFK-së në selinë e ICMP-së në Hagë. Pas vlerësimit, ICMP dhe AFK punuan së bashku për të përcaktuar pajisjet e nevojshme për të zgjeruar kapacitetet e AFK-së. Procedurat e prokurimit u finalizuan në korrik 2023, duke…

ICMP Donates Essential Equipment to Strengthen Kosovo’s Forensic Capabilities

Pristina 11 October 2023: In a significant move aimed at bolstering local capacities in the DNA testing related to missing persons, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has donated essential equipment to the  Kosovo Forensic Agency (KFA).

This initiative is part of a broader project to assist in accounting for missing persons from the Kosovo conflict. Under this project, ICMP facilitated a comprehensive assessment of the DNA capacities of the Kosovo Forensic Agency (KFA), building on previous cooperation and training of KFA experts at ICMP’s headquarters in The Hague. Following the assessment, ICMP and the KFA worked together to determine the equipment needed to expand the KFA’s capacities. Procurement procedures were finalized in July 2023, leading to the purchase of equipment, which was formally donated to the KFA today.

Samira Krehic, Deputy Head of…

ICMP and EU donate a Customized Missing Persons Software to the Missing Persons Institute in BiH

Sarajevo, 9 October 2023: In a significant step towards strengthening the process of locating and identifying missing persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Delegation of European Union to BIH and Embassy of Sweden to BIH have donated essential equipment to the Missing Persons Institute of BiH as part of its continued support to the Institute and the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). This donation reflects the EU commitment to supporting the Bosnia and Herzegovina and the ICMP in its efforts to locate and investigate the disappearance of missing persons from the conflicts of the 1990s in line with the rule of law.

Head of the EU Delegation and EU Special Representative in BiH Ambassador Johann Sattler visited the BiH Missing Persons Institute today to officially hand over the Integrated Data Management System (iDMS), a cutting-edge software solution developed by the ICMP in close cooperation with the Missing Persons Institute…

Robust, Active Engagement of Families is Key to Finding Missing Persons and Upholding the Rule of Law

The Hague 5 October 2023 – Visiting the Headquarters of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in The Hague today, members of the Advisory Board of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Missing Persons Institute (MPI) emphasized the importance of regional cooperation, full implementation of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s (BiH) Law on Missing Persons, and continued support for the work of the MPI.

The Law on Missing Persons, created in 2004, stipulates the creation of a verified BiH Central Record of Missing Persons and the establishment of a BiH Fund for Families of the Missing. The fund, which is to provide financial support to families of the missing, regardless of national or religious affiliation or circumstances of disappearance, has not yet been established.

The Chairman of the MPI Advisory Board Ante Maric called on BiH government institutions to work together. “Approximately 7,000 families are still waiting for information about their missing loved ones,’…

ICMP Works with Ukraine’s National Police To Enhance Data Management Relevant to Missing Persons Investigations

The Hague, 5 October 2023 – The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has delivered a week-long data management training program at its Headquarters in The Hague to representatives of the Main Investigation Department (MID) of the National Police of Ukraine (NPU).

The intensive course focused on how to maintain proper chain of custody when locating and investigating large-scale missing persons cases, and focused on the effective use of ICMP’s Integrated Data Management System (iDMS).

Speaking to participants, ICMP’s Europe Program Director Matthew Holliday emphasized that, “Ukraine is facing an enormous challenge to scale-up investigations to find tens of thousands of missing persons from the on-going conflict.”  He added that the course will enable NPU experts to use the iDMS in a way that allows them to work confidently with Ukraine’s missing persons database.

Igor Kalantay, Head of the MID’s Department of Investigation of Crimes Committed in the Armed Conflict, stressed the…