Accounting for the Missing Is an Investment in Peace

 The Hague, 12 November 2018: In Paris today, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) launched an international initiative to advance the responsibility of States in accounting for all persons who go missing or have disappeared for involuntary reasons. The initiative highlights the eight principles that are enshrined in the ICMP Declaration on the Role of the State in Addressing the Issue of Persons Missing as a Consequence of Armed Conflict and Human Rights Abuse:

  • States have a responsibility to resolve the fate of missing persons
  • Fundamental human rights are invoked when a person goes missing
  • Investigations must be capable of establishing the facts
  • Effective responses require cooperation between states and with international institutions
  • Meaningful investigations ensure that individuals are not denied protections under the law
  • Establishing cause and manner of death is fundamental in upholding the right to the truth
  • All missing persons investigations are potential criminal investigations…

ICMP and Partners Launch Regional Framework Plan To Address Remaining Missing Persons Cases From the Conflicts of the 1990s in the Former Yugoslavia

The Hague, 6 November: At the Headquarters of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in The Hague today, the representatives of the authorities that are responsible for accounting for missing persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia signed a Framework Plan that lays out steps to boost their cooperation and increase their effectiveness in accounting for missing persons throughout the region.

In the last two decades, these institutions have been able to account for more than 70 percent of the 40,000 who were missing from the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. This is a remarkable achievement, but there are still 12,000 people who have not been accounted for. The Framework Plan will enhance regional cooperation and lays out in detail how this will be done. This includes action to resolve the approximately 4,000 “NN” (no name, or unidentified) in mortuaries across the region, procedures for sharing…

ICMP Commissioner Wim Kok 1938-2018

 

The Hague, 21 October 2018 – ICMP Chair Thomas Miller today described the late Wim Kok as an individual whose leadership, advocacy and political stamina helped to place the issue of missing persons at the center of global policy. Mr Kok, who died on Saturday at the age of 80, had been a Commissioner of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) since 2002.

“Wim Kok was methodical and conscientious,” Ambassador Miller said. “He was not someone who wore his emotions on his sleeve, nor was he given to theoretical flights of fancy – he focused his prodigious energies on practical issues and it was this that enabled him to make such a significant contribution to ICMP’s ability to resolve missing persons cases around the world.”

Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said Wim Kok had…

Iraqi Ambassador Visits ICMP Headquarters

The Hague, 17 October 2018: Iraq’s newly-appointed Ambassador in The Hague, H.E. Dr. Hisham Al-Alawi, visited the Headquarters of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) today, where he met ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger and senior members of staff.

Director-General Bomberger briefed Ambassador Al-Alawi on ICMP’s global operations and its program in Iraq, where it has worked for more than a decade with political leaders, forensic experts, and families of the missing to address the country’s complex missing persons issue. She also provided Ambassador Al-Alawi with a tour of ICMP’s high-throughput DNA laboratory system.

Ambassador Al-Alwi expressed appreciation for the support that ICMP has been able to give its partners in Iraq and stated that he looks forward to continued cooperation.

Director-General Bomberger said ICMP wishes to continue working in partnership with Iraq to assist the country in developing a sustainable strategy to locate missing persons and to secure the rights of…

Implementing Recommendations on Identifying Human Remains in BIH Mortuaries

Sarajevo 10 October 2018: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has published an infographic that highlights the work of the NN (No Name) Working Groups that were established by the BIH authorities in 2013 to investigate why it has not been possible to match the DNA profiles from more than 3,000 human remains held in mortuaries throughout the country to 8,000 reported cases of missing persons, for which families of the missing have provided sufficient reference samples.

In November 2017, following a four-year effort spearheaded by the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina in cooperation with the BIH Missing Persons Institute (MPI) and with technical assistance from ICMP funded by the European Union, ICMP and the MPI announced the preliminary results of the project. Careful review of all remains kept in BiH mortuaries resulted in 121 new identities, 968 re-associations…

ICMP Welcomes Visitors During Hague International Open Day

The Hague, 23 September 2018 – The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) welcomed visitors today at its headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands, as part of the Hague International Open Day.

Director of Policy and Cooperation Andreas Kleiser, Director of Science and Technology Thomas Parsons, and Director of Data Systems and Coordination Adnan Rizvic briefed visitors on the development of ICMP’s international role since it was founded in 1996, and in particular since 2015 when it became a treaty-based organization and since 2016 when it moved its headquarters to The Hague.

The ICMP Agreement, signed by the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg in December 2014, mandates ICMP to secure the co-operation of governments and other authorities in locating persons missing as a result of armed conflicts, human rights abuses, natural and man-made disasters and other involuntary reasons and to assist them in doing so. ICMP supports the…

Chile Ratifies ICMP Agreement

The Hague, 19 September 2018: The Government of Chile has ratified the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

The Agreement recognizes ICMP as an international organization tasked with assisting countries in their efforts to address missing persons cases from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, migration and other causes.

By ratifying the Agreement, Chile joins Cyprus, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Serbia, Sweden and the United Kingdom, which have already done so.

ICMP has worked with the authorities in Chile for many years, helping relevant institutions to address the missing persons cases, including those who went missing under the Pinochet dictatorship. ICMP looks forward to working with the Chilean authorities and with Chilean civil society to address cases from the period of the dictatorship that have not yet been resolved, as well as other cases.

The Agreement does not create new international obligations for signatory States,…

Dutch Government Renews Support for ICMP

 

The Hague, 7 September 2018: The Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands has made an additional financial contribution of EUR 250,000 to support the International Commission on Missing Persons’ (ICMP) Headquarters in The Hague. The funding will be allocated to strengthening ICMP’s forensic and data systems capacities, as well as activities to support global programs and international cooperation.

In addition to The Netherlands’ long-standing support for ICMP’s work in the Western Balkans, the Dutch Foreign Ministry and the City of The Hague have provided invaluable logistical and financial resources to help ICMP establish and develop its Headquarters capacity.

“The Agreement on the Status and Functions of ICMP, which established the organization as a treaty-based international organization in 2015, stipulated that the Headquarters of the organization should be in The Hague,” Kathryne Bomberger said today. “The proactive support from the Netherlands and…

DNA Exclusion Database: Anonymous, Secure and Searchable

The Hague, 4 September 2018: ICMP hosted a workshop at its headquarters in The Hague today examining strategies for developing and using a Manufacturers’ Exclusion Database (MED) for companies working in the field of forensic science.

ICMP created a searchable MED, in cooperation with the European Network of Forensic Science institutes (ENFSI) and DNA consumable manufacturers, in 2014, and makes this accessible to DNA consumable manufacturers and DNA laboratories, allowing them to detect external contaminants coming from the forensic analysis supply chain. The MED provides forensic laboratories and police investigators with an anonymous, secure and searchable online database of DNA profiles to search for contaminations originating with manufacturers or otherwise detected in DNA laboratories.

Ingo Bastisch, Head of the DNA laboratory at the German Bundeskriminalamt, spoke at today’s workshop about the necessary role of the MED from the standpoint of the forensic user community. ICMP Director of Policy and Cooperation Andreas…

USAID Extends Missing Persons Support to ICMP To Assist Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo, 4 September 2018: The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded a grant of US$350,000 to a program implemented by the International Commission on Missing Persons’ (ICMP) that supports Bosnia and Herzegovina’s efforts to account for those who are still missing from the conflict of the 1990s. Besides USAID, other donors assisting the ICMP program in BiH are the European Union and Sweden.

ICMP’s program in Bosnia and Herzegovina provides assistance in forensic anthropology and archaeology, DNA matching and identification, and civil society development. In addition, ICMP is helping the authorities to address the interrelated issues of unidentified remains held in BIH mortuaries, and misidentifications that occurred before ICMP introduced DNA testing in 2001.

Matthew Holliday, the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program, expressed the organization’s thanks for US support.

Noting that the BIH authorities have been able to account for almost 23,000 of the approximately 30,000 people who were…