4 April 2012: The German Government has announced that it will provide further funds for the work of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) for the year 2012 and 2013. On behalf of the German Government, the Ambassador of Germany to Bosnia and Herzegovina Ulrike Maria Knotz today signed an agreement with ICMP Director General Kathryne Bomberger at ICMP’s HQ in Sarajevo.
A donation in the amount of 500,000 EUR will enable ICMP’s Forensic Sciences Department to undertake activities on remedying the unmatched remains in BiH. Another donation in the amount of 850,000 EUR will enable the continuation of ICMP’s Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology Training and Mentoring Project in Iraq, where ICMP has already trained 170 Iraqi experts in proper excavation and exhumation techniques.
Including these two grants, since year 2001 Germany has supported ICMP’s operations in the Western Balkans, Iraq and Colombia with direct contributions totaling to 5.25 Million EUR, in addition to contributions to ICMP via grants from the European Union.
“On behalf of the Federal Republic of Germany, I am very proud to announce the continuation of our support to the ICMP. The unique set of activities of this organization that merges the state-of-the-art science with outreach to families of missing persons and government capacity building in the service of justice and human rights, are crucial to the process of healing a post-conflict society, be it Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo or Iraq or any other war affected country”, the Ambassador of Germany to Bosnia and Herzegovina Ulrike Maria Knotz said following the signing ceremony.
“We are grateful to the German Government for its continuing support to ICMP. These and all previous donations are a clear sign that the international community – and Germany as a major power – are determined to help ICMP and local governments in resolving the issue of missing persons. Although unprecedented two thirds of persons missing in the Western Balkans region are now accounted for, around 14,000 still need to be found and returned to their families”, ICMP Director General Kathryne Bomberger said. “We will not fail these families and we will help their governments in trying to locate and identify the remaining missing persons, without regard to the ethnicity of the victims”.
In the Western Balkans ICMP has acquired blood samples from 89,547 relatives of 29,141 missing people, and has analyzed 36,858 bone samples taken from mortal remains recovered from clandestine graves. Through its DNA-led identification process ICMP has assisted in the identification of 16,614 people missing from the conflicts in the Western Balkans, 13,880 in Bosnia and Herzegovina alone.
ICMP has been cooperating and working with Iraqi authorities, namely with the Ministry of Human Rights, the Ministry of Health, the Martyrs Foundation, the Ministry of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs and the Kurdish Regional Government’s Ministry of Health since 2008. ICMP has offices in Baghdad and Erbil.