17 December 2015: The Republic of Serbia has become the ninth country to sign the Agreement on the Status and Functions of the International Commission on Missing Persons.
ICMP has been helping the authorities in Serbia to account for missing persons since 1996. In 2001 ICMP signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the former Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and after this ICMP assisted in the excavation and identification of persons missing from the Kosovo conflict. ICMP opened an office and established a DNA laboratory in Belgrade in 2002. The laboratory was handed over to the Serbian authorities in 2006. In 2014, ICMP renewed its agreement with the Government of Serbia Commission on Missing Persons through an exchange of letters relating specifically to the provision of assistance in locating, recovering and identifying missing persons related to the conflict in Kosovo, following the discovery of a gravesite in Southern Serbia.
“The authorities in Serbia have worked proactively to account for all those who went missing during the conflict in former Yugoslavia,” Serbian Ambassador to the Netherlands Petar Vico said on Wednesday. “Today’s signing ceremony will facilitate continued cooperation between ICMP and Serbia.”
ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said that by signing the ICMP Agreement, Serbia has reaffirmed its commitment to finding missing persons on its territory, adding that “ICMP will continue to help Serbia and other countries in the region to complete the process of locating and identifying missing persons as a result of the conflicts of the 1990s.”
ICMP is the only international organization exclusively devoted to accounting for the missing. Its mandate is to secure the cooperation of governments and other authorities in locating and identifying persons missing as a result of conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, migration, organized crime and other causes.
The other signatories to the ICMP Agreement are the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, Luxembourg, El Salvador, Cyprus, and Chile.
For more information about ICMP’s work in Serbia please visit http://bit.ly/1UzhIpb.