8 June 2011: The British Minister for Europe The Rt Hon David Lidington visited the headquarters of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Sarajevo today as part his two-day visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, praising the organization’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 UK’s Minister for Europe received briefings on ICMP’s assistance to governments worldwide, and toured the organizations’ main laboratory where ICMP performs DNA extraction and genetic profiling of samples from mortal remains and of blood samples from surviving relatives.
“The International Commission on Missing Persons has applied a revolutionary and successful approach to resolving the fate of those missing from the wars in the Western Balkans and the United Kingdom is proud of its support for these efforts. ICMP’s approach has been successful not only in identifying a vast number of missing persons, but in ensuring that justice is served for the perpetrators of war crimes”, British Minister for Europe The Rt Hon David Lidington said during the visit.
“The use of DNA technology and forensic science in identifying the missing has returned mortal remains to surviving families and played an integral role in documenting war crimes. The financial and political support of the United Kingdom to ICMP in this process has been immeasurable. The visit of Mr. Lidington is an excellent example of this support and we are very grateful”, ICMP Director General Kathryne Bomberger said during the visit.
The United Kingdom has supported ICMP since the year 2000 with grants of over 2,5 million GBP 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 has also assisted ICMP’s operations in 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 16,198 since 2001 using DNA-assisted techniques, in Bosnia alone 13,550. Of this number of identifications 6,595 are victims of the 1995 fall of Srebrenica.