25 October 2011: Germany has announced that it will provide a grant of 200,000 Euros for the work of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIH) in 2011. On behalf of the German Government, the Ambassador to BIH Ulrike Knotz today signed a grant agreement with ICMP Director General Kathryne Bomberger at ICMP’s HQ in Sarajevo.
The grant will support ICMP’s Forensic Sciences Program and is a continuation of the German Government’s support to ICMP’s DNA-led identification efforts. Germany has supported ICMP’s operations in the Western Balkans, Iraq and Colombia since year 2001 with direct contributions totaling 3.9 Million EUR as well as contributions to ICMP via grants from the European Union.
“We are pleased to continue our contribution to ICMP’s activities. ICMP’s assistance to the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina in addressing the issue of persons missing from armed conflicts in 1990s is extremely important. Germany considers that the impartial process that ICMP has pioneered in this country is vital to the region-wide process of truth seeking and reconciliation”, the German Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Ulrike Knotz said at the ceremony.
“Through its work ICMP has assisted in the excavation of hundreds of grave sites and has provided thousands of accurate DNA identifications of missing persons. We hope to have contributed to a sense of closure for family members and helped create the conditions for the process to be addressed without regard to the ethnicity of the victims or their families. None of this would be possible without the financial and political support from the German Government and our other donors, to whom we are extremely grateful “, said Kathryne Bomberger, ICMP’s Director General, at the signing ceremony.
In addition to its technical support, ICMP is the co-founder of the Missing Persons Institute of BiH, and contributes to transitional justice activities, provides legislative support and helps in the development of networks of civil society organizations which advocate for truth, justice, and the rights of family members of missing persons.
Since November 2001, ICMP has led the way in using DNA as the first step in the identification of large numbers of persons missing from armed conflict. In the Western Balkans ICMP has information from 89,213 relatives of 29,123 missing people, and has analyzed 36,200 bone samples taken from mortal remains recovered from clandestine graves. By matching DNA from blood and bone samples, ICMP has assisted in the identification of 16,362 people missing from the conflicts including 13,663 from Bosnia and Herzegovina.