Strategic Consultations Held on ICMP’s Global Programs

The Hague, 28 June 2023: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has concluded a series of strategic discussions and consultations in The Hague to advance its programs around the world.

ICMP’s Board of Commissioners held its annual meeting at ICMP Headquarters on 20 June, during which Former Norwegian Foreign Minister Knut Vollebaek was elected as Chair, taking over from retired US Ambassador Thomas Miller, who has led the Board ICMP since 2011.

At a Profiles of the Missing event held the same day, representatives of families of the missing, civil society activists and senior policymakers from Ukraine discussed strategies to develop an effective missing persons process. Joining the discussion from Kyiv, Ukraine’s Minister of Justice, Denys Maliuska, highlighted the central role of accounting for the missing in the collective effort to uphold international and domestic law. During the event, several speakers encouraged the Ukrainian Government to conclude a pending Cooperation…

The International Commission of Missing Persons and Libyan Judicial Expertise Center, Representing Ministry of Justice and Permanent Technical Committee on Mass Graves and Missing Migrants, Sign Technical Cooperation Agreement

The Hague, 27 June 2023 – Chancellor Khaled Diab from the Center for Judicial Expertise of Libya’s Ministry of Justice, Dr. Elias Elhammruni from the Permanent Technical Committee on Mass Graves and Missing Migrants & Ambassador Thomas Miller Chairperson of the International Commission of Missing Persons (ICMP) have signed a Technical Cooperation Agreement in The Hague.

“The agreement paves the way for ICMP to help the authorities in Libya establish an impartial and effective process to account for large numbers of missing persons,” ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said. ”It will continue the work that ICMP undertook in Libya a decade ago, and it will provide the relevant agencies with tools to account for Libyans who have gone missing as a result of conflict and political instability, as well as migrants who have gone missing in their efforts to reach Europe .”

“We hope that this agreement between the Center for Judicial…

Libyan Experts Visit ICMP to Advance Work On Locating Missing Migrants & Other Missing Persons

The Hague, 27 June 2023: Experts from Libyan institutions have completed a four-day visit to the Headquarters of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in The Hague.  Representatives included experts from the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Justice (Technical Permanent Committee on Mass Graves and Missing Migrants). During the study visit, the experts were briefed on measures to enhance their work in locating missing migrants and other missing persons and investigating disappearances in line with the rule of law.

Participants were able to see at first hand ICMP’s Integrated Data Management System (iDMS), which has helped to account for tens of thousands of people globally. They also attended presentations on methodologies for collecting and analyzing missing persons data, and during a tour of ICMP’s Human Identification laboratory they were briefed on the latest DNA identification techniques.

“This visit enhanced…

Knut Vollebaek Elected as Chair of the ICMP Board of Commissioners

The Hague, 23 June 2023:  Former Norwegian Foreign Minister Knut Vollebaek has been elected as the new Chair of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) Board of Commissioners. Mr Vollebaek, who has been a member of the Board since 2013, replaces former US Ambassador Thomas Miller, who has served as Chair since 2011.

Ambassador Vollebæk was the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities from 2007 to 2013. Prior to that, he was Norway’s Ambassador to the United States between 2001 and 2007 and Foreign Minister from 1997 to 2000. He was Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE in 1999.

“I am honored to be selected to fill this role and look forward to working with my fellow board members and ICMP staff to continue ICMP’s efforts to address the global challenge of missing persons,” Mr Vollebæk said following his appointment by the Board of Commissioners on 20 June.

ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said…

ICMP Applauds US Supreme Court Ruling on Native American Children

The Hague, 22 June 2023: The ruling delivered on 15 June by the United States Supreme Court by a vote of 7-2, that Native American children can continue to be protected under federal law against removal from tribal communities into foster care or adoption by non-Natives, has been welcomed by Native American Tribal leaders. Tribal Nations within the US saw this case as an attack on recognized Tribal Sovereignty and an existential threat to their Nations. In his consenting ruling, Justice Gorsuch extensively quotes historic and current reports on how the legacy of the education system, including boarding schools, imposed on Native communities has led directly to the ongoing need for legislation such as the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Commenting on the decision, International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) Director-General Kathryne Bomberger noted that “the US Supreme Court has reaffirmed the enduring relationship with Tribal Nations in America, including their…

National Indigenous Peoples Day: Helping Survivors Investigate Suspected IRS Crimes

National Indigenous Peoples Day: Helping Survivors Investigate Suspected IRS Crimes

The Hague, 21 June 2023: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) recognizes on this Indigenous Peoples Day the tremendous weight that Survivors and communities continue to carry on the issue of Missing Indigenous Children and Unmarked Graves from the former Indian Residential Schools (IRS) across Canada. ICMP looks forward to working with families and survivors on their journey to obtaining answers and securing justice.

The First Nations leadership, including through a resolution by the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Chiefs, mandated the AFN to invite ICMP to facilitate and support an Indigenous-led process to explore options for addressing the issue of unmarked burials. Accordingly, the Technical Arrangement signed between Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC) and ICMP in January 2023 envisaged ICMP working with Indigenous survivors and families, including working with Metis and Inuit Survivors and families.

ICMP welcomes the…

Профілі зниклих безвісти з України: воєнні злочини мають бути розслідувані

Гаага, 20 червня 2023  – З огляду на величезне зростання кількості зниклих безвісти, Україна «має розробити ефективнішу та гуманнішу державну стратегію щодо зниклих безвісти, щоб люди, які опинились у цій жахливій ситуації, не були самотніми», заявила лауреатка Нобелівської премії миру Олескандра Матвійчук на зустрічі, організованій Міжнародною комісією з питань зниклих безвісти (МКЗБ) у її штаб-квартирі в Гаазі.

Під час публічного обговорення зусиль із запровадження ефективного процесу розшуку зниклих безвісти в Україні пані Матвійчук, яка є головою Центру громадянських свобод у Києві, наголосила на масштабі проблеми, оскільки десятки тисяч людей вважаються зниклими безвісти після російського вторгнення у лютому минулого року, додавши до тих, хто вже перебував у розшуку після початку російської агресії в 2014 році.

Під час заходу – «Профілі зниклих безвісти: голоси українських родин» – родичі зниклих безвісти розповідали про свій досвід і закликали до сталого процесу щодо зниклих безвісти як життєво важливої інвестиції в мир і справедливість.

Її Величність Королева Нур,…

Profiles of the Missing from Ukraine: War Crimes Must be Investigated

The Hague, 20 June 2023 – In the face of a huge surge in the number of missing persons, Ukraine “must develop a more efficient and more humane state strategy on missing persons so that people facing this terrible situation will not be alone,” Nobel Laureate Oleskandra Matviychuk said today at a meeting organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) at its Headquarters in The Hague.

During a public discussion on efforts to establish an effective missing persons process in Ukraine, Ms Matviychuk, who is Head of the Center for Civil Liberties in Kyiv, emphasized the scale of the challenge, with tens of thousands of people reported missing since the Russian invasion in February last year, adding to those already being sought following the initial Russian invasion of 2014.

During the event – “Profiles of the Missing: Voices of Ukrainian Families” – relatives of the missing spoke about their experience…

Another Tragedy: Another Call for Migration Reform

The Hague, 16 June 2023: The sinking of an overcrowded fishing boat on 14 June off the coast of Greece, resulting in multiple deaths and disappearances, will require a major international effort to account for hundreds of missing persons, Kathryne Bomberger, the Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) said today.

ICMP has already offered to assist the Greek authorities in locating and identifying the missing, “but this will be an international effort – a large number of those who were aboard the vessel were Syrian, but there were many other nationalities too. Under international law, governments have interconnected obligations to investigate disappearances and repatriate human remains.”

ICMP has offered to send teams to Athens to collect reference samples from relatives of the missing, which can be compared with DNA profiles extracted from unidentified human remains. This will significantly facilitate efforts to identify victims of the tragedy.

On Friday afternoon,…

Developing an Effective Missing Persons Strategy for Syria

Sarajevo, 12 June: A group of family representatives and civil society activists from Syria completed a weeklong visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH) hosted by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). The visit is part of a program to support the development of an effective strategy to account for the more than 130,000 persons who are missing in the Syrian context, including ongoing cases of disappearances since 2011.

The study visit brought together representatives from different organizations, who had the opportunity to meet with representatives of the BIH Missing Persons Institute, the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees, and the War Crimes Prosecutor’s Office.

“ICMP is committed to helping Syrian civil society to build a sustainable process to locate all missing persons and to investigate their disappearance and secure the rights of all families to truth, justice, and reparations,” ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said, noting that strategies that had succeeded in…