Missing Persons Institute Directors Officially Appointed

1 March 2006: The first Directors of the Missing Persons Institute (MPI) of Bosnia-Herzegovina officially took up their posts today, marking a major step forward in the search for persons missing from the country’s 1992-95 conflict.The MPI is a State-level organization co-founded by the BiH Council of Ministers and the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), which is taking over the responsibilities of the entity-level missing persons organizations – the Office of the Republika Srpska on Tracing Detained and Missing Persons and the Federation Commission on Tracing Missing Persons. There are three Directors of the MPI: Marko Jurisic and Amor Masovic, Chairmen of the Federation commission, and Milan Bogdanic, Director of the RS office on missing persons. Marko Jurisic took over today as the first MPI Chairman, a position that will rotate every eight months between the current three MPI Directors.

Canada Joins ICMP Donors

9 February 2006: The Government of Canada today joins the donor nations of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), making a contribution of 350,000 Canadian Dollars from Canada’s Global Peace and Security Fund for ICMP’s identification of missing individuals from the conflicts in the regions of the former Yugoslavia.Today, in recognition of Canada’s contribution, Canadian Ambassador Shelley Whiting toured the ICMP facilities in Tuzla. Given the regional focus of ICMP activities, and the relevance of their work in the neighboring countries of Croatia and Serbia-Montenegro, she was joined by her colleagues, Mr. Yvan Jobin, Deputy Head of Mission at the Canadian Embassy in Belgrade, and Mr. Sven Jurschewsky, Deputy Head of Mission at the Canadian Embassy in Zagreb.

In Tuzla, Ambassador Whiting stated, “Canada is pleased to support financially the work of the ICMP, which facilitates their ongoing efforts to identify victims of the conflicts in the region, and…

DNA Matches for Missing from Conflicts in the Former Yugoslavia

30 January 2006: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) has achieved the first results from a campaign in the United States to help identify missing victims of the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. The first 33 DNA matches between bone samples of missing individuals found in grave sites in the former Yugoslavia and blood samples taken from relatives of the missing who are now living in North America have been made by ICMP in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

2005 Successful Year for ICMP

30 December 2005: The recent request by the State of Louisiana for the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) to assist in the identification of Hurricane Katrina victims is the latest of many major developments for the organization in 2005. ICMP is now analyzing bone samples sent from the United States to obtain DNA profiles that will help to identify missing hurricane victims.This humanitarian assistance follows ICMP’s participation in the identification of victims of last year’s Indian Ocean tsunami. In May, ICMP was asked by the Government of Thailand to analyze bone samples of victims and to match the bone DNA profiles with profiles of family members of the missing. So far, ICMP has obtained DNA profiles for 1,634 of the 1,779 bone samples sent from Thailand and has found 691 DNA matches between victims of the tsunami and their family members.

Yet despite these developments in the area of…

ICMP Helping to Identify Katrina Victims

29 December 2005: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is assisting in efforts to identify victims of Hurricane Katrina, analyzing bone samples in order to obtain DNA profiles for identification of the bodies.Under an agreement between ICMP and the State of Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, ICMP will test an estimated 260 to 350 bone samples to assist in identification of victims of the August hurricane, which swept across the south eastern United States, severely damaging the New Orleans area and leaving some 1,400 persons confirmed dead.

The DNA analysis is being carried out at the ICMP DNA laboratories in Bosnia and Herzegovina. ICMP was originally established in 1996 to assist in the identification of persons missing as a result of the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. It is now also working with the authorities in Iraq on finding ways to address the missing persons issue there and,…

ICMP Marks Daily Record of DNA Matches

23 December 2005: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) yesterday achieved a daily record of 60 DNA matches between DNA profiles of bone samples taken from remains found in grave sites across the former Yugoslavia and blood samples given by family members of the missing. The previous daily record of matches between ICMP’s victim and family member DNA databases was 54.Yesterday’s record was due in part to a large number of bone samples delivered to ICMP from grave sites in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The bone samples were analyzed at the ICMP DNA laboratory in Sarajevo and their DNA profiles were entered into ICMP’s database in Tuzla, in eastern Bosnia, where the matches were found.

DNA experts at ICMP’s Identification Coordination Division in Tuzla hope that today will bring a new record number of matches: by noon today, 41 DNA matches had already been found. A DNA match on the…

1,345 Family Members Donate Blood Samples in US Campaign

15 December 2005: In hotel conference rooms in Dallas, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia, late Wednesday evening, blood collection teams from the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) completed their North American drive to collect samples from family members of persons missing from the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia.The blood samples – just four small drops of blood collected on absorbent cards – will be analyzed to find the DNA profiles of the relatives for comparison with DNA profiles of remains found in mass graves across the former Yugoslavia in order to identify the missing. A DNA match within the ICMP system indicates identity with a certainty of at least 99.95 per cent.

During their two-week blood collection drive, ICMP teams visited 12 states in the eastern United States and the mid-west, states selected because the highest concentrations of families of persons missing from the former Yugoslavia are currently living there….

Participation of Survivors and Families of Victims is Key for Justice

10 December 2005: Experts on transitional justice and representatives of victims of gross human rights violations from the former Yugoslavia and across the world agreed conclusively today that civil society groups play an indispensable role providing justice for victims.The conclusions came on the final day of a three-day conference on International Models of Transitional Justice in Sarajevo, from December 8 – 10, organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and brining together experts and victims representatives from Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. The conference was timed so that the concluding day would take place on December 10, the International Day of Human Rights.

While conflicts and gross violations of human rights around the world differed in many ways, participants at the conference shared their experiences and found much in common. “The pain of all the victims is something they share, suffering is a common…

All elements of transitional justice must be included

9 December 2005: There must be a combination of approaches to providing the justice that is essential for societies in transition from periods of conflict, violence or human rights abuses, agreed participants at a conference on International Models of Transitional Justice organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) today in Sarajevo. The second day of the three-day conference focused on key elements of transitional justice – criminal justice, truth seeking, reparation and institutional reform – and the application of these justice mechanisms in the former Yugoslavia.

“Criminal justice has not to date fulfilled all the requisite needs of societies in transitions,” said ICMP Government Relations Director Jeffrey Buenger at the conference. “Victims have a right to know the truth, a right to justice and right to reparations.”

Criminal justice in the form of prosecutions of indicted war criminals was an important part of the overall process, agreed conference participants,…

Victims Groups Call for Compensation and Arrest of War Criminals

8 December 2005: On the opening day of a three-day conference on International Models of Transitional Justice organized by the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Sarajevo on Thursday, participants discussed different approaches to providing justice for victims of conflict, genocide and human rights violations, from Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Europe.Experts and victims’ representatives from around the world and participants from the former Yugoslavia grappled with issues that are central to the discussion of transitional justice, including issues such as peace versus justice – when arrests and trials can destabilize a fragile peace; the frequent impossibility of prosecuting all criminals in cases of mass violations of human rights; the cost of trials and the length of time it takes for prosecutions; reparations to victims; the responsibility of governments and the role of the international community; truth commissions; and the effectiveness of mechanisms of transitional justice…