Experts from Iraq Visit ICMP Headquarters And Human Identification Laboratory in The Hague

The Hague, 12 May 2023: – Experts from Iraq today completed a five-day visit to the Headquarters of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in The Hague. The experts, from the Martyrs’ Foundation Directorate for Protection and Affairs of Mass Graves and the Ministry of Health Medico-Legal Directorate, received a series of briefings on the various stages of an effective DNA-led process to account for large numbers of missing persons.

At ICMP’s Human Identification laboratory, the Iraqi visitors were able to see at first hand DNA profiling from genetic samples provided by families of the missing and post-mortem samples from unidentified human remains. They were also able to see how these samples are compared using ICMP’s integrated Data Management System (iDMS).

In addition, the visitors were briefed on strategies that can be adopted to facilitate the active engagement of families of the missing and society as a whole in was…

ICMP Launches a Short Guide for Families of the Missing in Iraq

Erbil, 4 May 2023: – The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), together with its Iraqi partners, launched today a “Short Guide for Families of the Missing in Iraq” in an event held in Erbil. The guide aims to assist Iraqi families of the missing and other members of Iraqi Civil Society better understand how the missing persons process in Iraq works and outlines the process that Iraq is undertaking to account for the missing, and explains the steps that families can take to secure their rights to truth, justice and reparation regardless of sectarian, or national background or the time period, location, or circumstances of the disappearance of their loved ones.

“ICMP’s mandate is to help the Iraqi authorities to enhance their capacity to conduct effective investigations to account for all missing persons,” said ICMP director-general Kathryne Bomberger. “The guide will help bridge the gap between the families and…

Ukrainian Civil Society Organizations Visit ICMP Headquarters in The Hague    

The Hague, 6 April 2023:  Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has resulted in tens of thousands of missing and disappeared persons and the numbers continue to rise by the day. Circumstances in which people go missing include forcible deportations, summary executions, incommunicado detention, kidnapping, and family separation, including unlawful adoptions and trafficking in human beings.

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is partnering with Ukrainian civil society and families of the missing to ensure that all missing persons are accounted for and that the rights of families of the missing to truth, justice, and reparations are secured.

During a week-long visit to ICMP Headquarters by Ukrainian civil society organizations and families of the missing, supported by the European Union’s Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (EU FPI), participants reviewed the process of locating missing persons and reuniting families and were able to see at firsthand how a DNA-led identification process works. They…

The ICMP-Facilitated Policy Coordination Group Express Their Solidarity with the Families of the Earthquakes Victims

The members of the Policy Coordination Group (PCG) express their solidarity with the families of the victims and with all those who were impacted by the earthquakes that hit southern Türkiye and northern Syria in February. The members of the PCG offer their sincere condolences to civil society partners who lost colleagues in the earthquakes.

The earthquakes struck as the Syrian people continue to suffer in the ongoing conflict for 12 years and in which more than 130,000 people have gone missing, more than half a million have been killed, 13 million have been displaced, and more than six million have been forced to seek asylum abroad. How much more suffering can the Syrian people endure?

The members of the PCG are deeply disappointed by the failure to deliver humanitarian aid promptly to hard-hit communities in northwest Syria. Syrians were left to die under the rubble at a time when the…

Libyan Government Officials and Experts Conclude Visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo, 17 March: A delegation of Libyan government officials and experts have concluded a 5-day, ICMP-facilitated visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH) where they had an opportunity to learn at first hand about the process implemented in BIH to account for persons missing from the conflict of the 1990s. In the last 25 years, with ICMP assistance and through the pioneering use of DNA, the authorities in BIH have been able to account for 75 percent of the 30,000 people who went missing during the conflict, a ratio that has not been equalled in any other post-conflict country.

“The authorities in Libya are facing a major challenge to address the issue of missing persons from different causes,” said ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger. “Bosnia and Herzegovina developed a successful model of a missing persons process that enables families of the missing to secure their right to truth, justice and reparations. This…

The Netherlands Supports ICMP Project to Review Missing Persons Process in South Caucasus Countries

The Hague, 16 March 2023: The Kingdom of the Netherlands will provide funding to the International Commission on Missing Person (ICMP) to conduct an assessment of the scope and situation of the missing persons issue in the South Caucasus related to the armed conflicts beginning in 1988 between Armenia and Azerbaijan and to issue a set of recommendations which would enhance the creation of a sustainable process of accounting for the missing in each country.

The assessment, which will be conducted in during 2023, will examine the engagement of relevant governmental and judicial institutions, legislative frameworks, scientific and technical capacities, the engagement of families of the missing, advocacy groups and other members of civil society, with an emphasis on female-led organizations, data collection and data analysis capacities, documentation of illicit gravesites, cooperative mechanisms and other measures.

“I visited Armenia in March 2022 and Azerbaijan in April 2022 at the invitation of…

More than 130,000 Missing from the Syrian Conflict With Numbers Still on the Rise

The Hague, 15 March 2023 – Today marks the 12th anniversary of the start of the Syrian uprising. As a result of the subsequent conflict, more than 130,000 people have gone missing and the numbers continue to rise. Men, women, and children have been abducted, killed, and forcibly disappeared, or have gone missing along migratory routes while fleeing from the fighting.

“It is critical that those responsible, including the Syrian regime, demonstrate the political will to release prisoners and find missing and disappeared persons in line with international law,” said ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger. “States are responsible for securing the rights of families to truth and justice.” “ICMP reaffirms its solidarity with the families of the victims of atrocities, enforced disappearances and other human rights abuses committed in Syria, as well as with families of those who are missing following the devastating earthquake earlier this year.” she added.

ICMP remains committed to…

SIDA Director-General Carin Jämtin visits ICMP’s Western Balkans program

Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina 28 February 2023 – Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) Director-General Carin Jämtin, Ambassador of Sweden to Bosnia and Herzegovina Johanna Stromquist, Head of the Europe and Latin America Department at Sida, Lisa Fredriksson, and the Head of Development Cooperation at the Embassy of Sweden in BIH, Eva Smedberg.  witnessed the painstaking process of identifying victims of the conflict in former Yugoslavia during their visit to see the work of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

During the visit to Tuzla, the delegation that was accompanied by the Deputy Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program, Samira Krehic learned how ICMP collects genetic reference samples from the families of the missing and how essential this is for the scientifically accurate, blinded process of DNA matching used to identify missing persons. So far, ICMP has collected data from 100,000 families of the missing and over 50,000 post mortem…

Canada Supports Efforts to Locate Missing and Disappeared Persons from the War in Ukraine

The Hague, 28 February 2023: – The International Commission on Missing Persons and the Government of Canada signed an agreement under which ICMP will support Ukraine in locating missing and disappeared persons following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Global Affairs Canada will provide 1.8 million Canadian dollars (roughly 1,345,000 USD) for a one-year project.

The ongoing war in Ukraine has resulted in tens of thousands of missing and disappeared persons. Circumstances in which people go missing in Ukraine include forcible deportations, summary executions, incommunicado detention, kidnapping, abduction and family separation, including unlawful adoptions and trafficking in human beings. ICMP is working with the authorities to develop an effective long-term process to account for the missing and, where missing persons cases are a result of war crimes, to bring perpetrators to justice.

Lisa Helfand, Canada’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, said Canadian support for ICMP in Ukraine, which will help…

ICMP Hosts Workshop on Use of Modern Forensic Genetics to Identify Distant Relatives from War in Vietnam

The Hague, 18 February 2023 – Tuesday, February 14, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) welcomed a delegation of scientists and government officials from Vietnam for a workshop on the use of modern forensic genetics to identify people who went missing decades ago as a result of the war in Vietnam.

The Vietnamese delegation, led by Professor Dr. Chu Hoang Ha, Vice President of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST), included scientists from the Center for DNA Identification (part of VAST’s Institute of Biotechnology), and experts in the identification of war remains from relevant departments and ministries in Vietnam. International scientists represented at the workshop included Dr. Timothy McMahon, Director of the US Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) and Dr. Charla Marshall, Head of AFDIL’s Emerging Technologies Section;  Dr. Tam Ngo, cultural anthropological researcher from the German Max Planck Society; ancient DNA specialist Dr. Elena Zavala, University…