6 November 2009: Britain’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, The Right Honourable David Miliband MP, visited the international headquarters of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) today as part of a visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina, praising the organisation’s support to international and regional justice.
Accompanied by ICMP’s Director-General Ms. Kathryne Bomberger and the British Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, H.E. Mr. Michael Tatham, the Secretary of State received briefings on ICMP’s assistance to governments worldwide, and toured the organisations’ main laboratory where ICMP performs DNA extraction and genetic profiling of samples from mortal remains and of blood samples from surviving relatives.
“ICMP’s mandate grew from the devastating conflicts of the mid nineties in the former Yugoslavia. Since then it has carried out pioneering work in the field of forensics and is making a key contribution to regional and international judicial processes. I have heard today just how important their work is to both the State Court and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in helping bring justice for victims of the conflict,” said the Secretary of State.
“The British Government is proud of the support it has provided to ICMP here in the Balkans and in other parts of the world. It has truly become a global centre of excellence,” he added.
“ICMP is delighted to welcome the Secretary of State to ICMP, and once again thanks the British Government for its vital and generous support which has enabled a revolutionary approach to this challenging problem,” said ICMP’s Director-General Ms. Kathryne Bomberger.
The United Kingdom has supported ICMP since the year 2000 with grants of almost 2,500,000 pounds that have focused on the development of Bosnia’s capacity to address the missing persons issue at the level of the state, including support to international and regional judicial processes and the establishment of the Missing Persons Institute. UK funding also assists ICMP’s operations in the Western Balkans, Colombia and Iraq.
ICMP’s worldwide operations include the provision of assistance to the governments of the Western Balkans, Iraq, the Philippines, Chile and Colombia, as well as assistance to Kuwait, Norway, Thailand and South Africa. Of the 40,000 people estimated missing from the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, ICMP has identified 15,124 since 2001 using DNA-assisted techniques.