New ICMP Initiative to Locate Clandestine Graves

Sarajevo, 29 June 2017: The International Commission on Missing Persons has launched a new on-line application called the “Site Locator” to assist in locating sites, such as mass or clandestine graves, where the mortal remains of missing persons could be hidden. The Site Locator is intended for global use, but is initially being launched in the Western Balkans to assist in locating the remaining 12,000 persons missing from the conflicts of the 1990s.  The Site Locator is an easy-to-use application that can be accessed at ICMP’s Online Inquiry Center ( Information can be provided anonymously, or may include contact details.

At a press conference yesterday, the Director of ICMP’s Data Systems Program, Adnan Rizvic, explained how the Site Locator works and how members of the public can use it to provide information. ‘’One of the biggest obstacles to locating and identifying the remaining 12,000 persons in the region is the lack of high quality information on the possible locations of mass and clandestine graves. With this application, developed by ICMP, we are providing an innovative solution for persons to provide information to assist governments in the region in their efforts to account for missing persons.”

The Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program, Matthew Holliday, noted that, while more than 70 percent of the 40,000 persons missing from the regional conflicts have been accounted for, “tens of thousands of family members have still not learned the fate of the 12,000 persons who are still missing. This is why it is essential that the search for the missing continues and that the governments in the region remain vigilant in adhering to the ‘Declaration on the Role of the State in Addressing the Issue of Persons Missing as a Consequence of Armed Conflict and Human Rights Abuses’, which they signed in 2014.”

The Site Locator, an application within the Online Inquiry Center (OIC), is part of ICMP’s Integrated Data Management System (iDMS), a global service that ICMP provides to governments, families of the missing, technical experts and other stakeholders engaged in addressing the issue of missing persons. The iDMS has a set of powerful integrated applications that support the process of storing, processing and analyzing data on missing persons, investigations, and identifications. The iDMS ensures secure access to the database, regardless of location, thus increasing interoperability among all stakeholders working on the missing persons issue.

In addition to the Site Locator, the OIC has several other public functions. The “Report a Missing Person” function enables the provision of basic biographical information about a person who has gone missing – name, date and place of birth, physical description, names of family members, and circumstances (where these are known) when the person was last seen. The “Missing Persons Inquiry” function allows families of the missing to track ICMP’s efforts to identify individuals using its DNA matching techniques.

ICMP is an international organization based in The Hague, the Netherlands. Its mandate is to secure the cooperation of governments and others in locating and identifying missing persons from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, irregular migration and other causes and to assist them in doing so. It is the only international organization tasked exclusively to work on the issue of missing persons. ICMP has spearheaded an effort of more than 20 years to account for the missing from the conflicts in former Yugoslavia.

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