Iraqi Human Rights Minister to Visit ICMP

The Minister for Human Rights of Iraq, His Excellency Dr. Bakhtiar Amin, arrived Friday afternoon in Sarajevo for an official visit with the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). During the visit, Dr. Amin and his delegation of technical experts will tour ICMP facilities and have an opportunity to learn about ICMP methodology, including assistance in the formulation of government policies on missing persons issues, scientific approaches to identification of bodies and assistance and support for family members of the missing.During his four-day visit, the Minister will meet with ICMP staff to discuss options on how to address the missing persons issue. He will meet with ICMP forensic anthropologists to learn about exhumation and examination procedures, and visit the ICMP DNA laboratory in Sarajevo, where DNA profiles are generated from bone samples taken from the remains of missing persons and from blood samples given by family members of missing…

Families of the Missing Give Blood Samples to Trace Relatives

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has had a positive response to the second round of its outreach campaign to collect blood samples from family members of persons missing from the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. Funded by the European Union, ICMP’s “Outreach Campaign to Families of Missing Persons – Assisting the Identification Process in the Former Yugoslavia” targeted family members living in Europe, with phase II covering Austria, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Switzerland. ICMP teams who traveled to the target countries collected a total of 1,771 blood samples from 1 – 10 October 2004.Deputy Director of ICMP’s Forensic Sciences Department Adnan Rizvic said he was extremely happy with the second part of the campaign, “We collected more blood samples that we had expected, which means we actually opened some new cases,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how much time has passed, family members are still…

ICMP and the Government of Croatia to launch a joint campaign to collect blood samples from families of missing persons

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the Government of Croatia agreed Tuesday to launch a joint campaign to collect blood samples from families of persons missing as a result of the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. Some 25,000 persons are still missing in the region, including many from the Republic of Croatia.Under the terms of an agreement signed in Zagreb on Tuesday between the ICMP and the Croatian Ministry of the Family, Veterans’ Affairs and Intergenerational Solidarity (MOBMS), joint Ministry and ICMP teams will collect blood samples from family members of the missing at locations around Croatia during two weekends, beginning November 20, 2004. The Ministry and ICMP are urging family members who have not already given blood samples to take part in this campaign.

At the signing of the Agreement, Assistant Minister of MOBMS, Ivan Grujić, who signed on behalf of the Croatian Government, said, “This project…

ICMP to Help Investigation of Mass Graves in Iraq

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) announced Friday it will assist Iraq in its efforts to address the issue of missing persons. The ICMP will donate access to its highly sophisticated forensic Data Management System (fDMS), a unique electronic database that tracks the process of exhumations and identifications from site reconnaissance and exhumation to identification of remains, notification of family members and final burial.There are believed to be between 300,000 and one million missing persons in Iraq following the regime of Saddam Hussein. Most of the missing are believed to be buried in mass graves and several mass grave sites have already been excavated.

“Resolving the fate of missing persons is a crucial element in providing justice for family members and in allowing any reconciliation process to move forward. The authorities in Iraq recognize that unless these mass graves are properly investigated, they could pose a serious threat to…

Dutch Government donates 1 million Euros to ICMP

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), announced Tuesday it has received a grant of one million Euros from the Dutch Government.The Government of the Netherlands is ICMP’s second largest contributor, and the current donation brings Dutch financial support for ICMP in 2004 to a total of 2 million Euros.

The Government of the Netherlands has been generous in its support of a wide range of post-conflict activities in Bosnia Herzegovina, including, since 1998, the work of the ICMP. Dutch Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Robert Bosscher commented that his Government’s support emphasized “the very important work the ICMP is doing in Bosnia and Herzegovina, not only for the individual families of missing persons involved, but also for the country at large.”

“We are tremendously grateful for the continued support of the Dutch Government,” said ICMP Chief of Staff Kathryne Bomberger when the donation was announced. “All the work we do,…

DNA Profiles Generated on Over 10,000 Missing Individuals

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) announced Wednesday it had passed a major milestone in identifying persons missing from the wars in the former Yugoslavia. ICMP has generated DNA profiles from bone samples for over 10,000 individuals, representing about one third of all the war missing across the region.”This is a major achievement, and unique in the history of identification of missing persons and of forensic science,” explained Adnan Rizvić, Deputy Director of ICMP’s Forensic Sciences Department. ” When we started working with DNA – just two years ago – to identify missing persons from the war, people told us it would never be feasible to use DNA on such a large scale, or that it would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to do what we have now done – for a fraction of that cost,” he said.

The ICMP has obtained DNA profiles on some 12,000 bone…

Family Members Feel They Are Not Being Heard In Truth and Reconciliation Process

Family members of the missing and victims’ groups feel it is still too early to convene a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Bosnia Herzegovina, they told participants at a two-day conference on “Mechanisms for Truth Seeking and Documentation,” organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) to encourage an exchange of views on possible steps towards reconciliation.”The family members and other participants at the conference clearly agreed that the first priority should be to clarify the fate of the missing, to exhume the remains and to identify them and give them a decent burial,” said Asta Zinbo, ICMP’s Director of Civil Society Initiatives Program.

ICMP organized the conference so that families associations and victims groups could be better informed about the truth and reconciliation process and so they could share their views and opinions. “Our goal was to create an opportunity for these groups talk to each other and…

Holy See Donation of 5,000 USD to ICMP

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has received another generous donation from the Holy See. This latest donation of 5,000 USD will significantly contribute to the work and activities of the ICMP. The Holy See has made donations to ICMP since the year 2002 and is a valued contributor to ICMP’s work.In a statement made last Friday, H.E. Apostolic Nuncio to BiH, Santos Abril y Castello, emphasized the importance the Holy See places on ICMP’s work and expressed the sympathy of the Holy See toward families with missing relatives from the conflicts. H.E. Nuncio hopes that the fate of persons who remain unaccounted for will soon be resolved and that their families will finally find peace.

The existence of large numbers of missing persons poses an impediment to post conflict institution building as well as to peace initiatives and reconciliation. ICMP works with other international organizations and provides support…

Official Opening of Srebrenica-Potocari Memorial and Cemetery

With the official opening of the Srebrenica-Potocari Memorial and Cemetery on Saturday September 20th, 2003, almost 1000 individuals who died during the fall of Srebrenica in July 1995 are now laid to rest. The numbers will increase as more missing persons are found and identified. That these persons now have the final dignity of a marked grave instead of an anonymous memorial is due to the hard work of many people and organizations. The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), through its work with families, and governments, as well as by using traditional and new science, contributes to this work which recognizes the human rights of both the living and the dead.

President Bill Clinton, who is the prime guest of honour at the official opening, was the choice of both the Association of the Mothers of Srebrenica and of all the citizens of Srebrenica. It was President Clinton, who…

Swiss Donation to ICMP

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has received another generous donation from the Government of Switzerland. The funds will be used to support ICMP’s DNA laboratory in Sarajevo and will significantly assist ICMP’s DNA – led identification process. A donation agreement was signed by H.E. Ambassador Urs Breiter for Switzerland and by Adam Boys, ICMP’s Director of Administration and Finance. As H.E. Ambassador noted ” it is essential that families of the missing are given answers to questions that they have waited so long to have”.

The Government of Switzerland is a valued supporter of ICMP’s programmes and activities. ICMP has received regular donations from the Swiss Government since year 2001. So far, the donations have been used to support the exhumation and identification process of Kosovo Albanians buried in Serbia as well as ICMP’s Civil Society Initiatives Programme and its “Short term Activities – Paths to Reconciliation” project.

ICMP’s…