Government of Greece to Help Equip ICMP

June 10 2005: The Government of Greece has once again joined the donor governments of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), making a financial contribution towards equipping the newly-established ICMP Re-association Center in Lukavac, eastern Bosnia.During the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, remains of victims buried in mass graves were often separated and “commingled” when the perpetrators of killings tried to hide evidence of their crimes by digging up the bodies and re-burying them in secondary mass graves. At the ICMP Re-association Center, skeletal remains of the missing are put back together using a combination of archaeological information, anthropological work and a method whereby a limited DNA profile is generated to allow for re-association of separated body parts. In this way, the ICMP Re-association Center is helping to ensure that more individuals are accounted for and that the process of re-association does not further delay the identification of remains and their return to their families for proper burial.

“We hope this donation will help to facilitate ICMP’s important mission to provide answers for family members and to contribute to the process of reconciliation in this country,” said Greek Ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina Mihail Koukakis, as he announced his Government’s contribution to ICMP.

ICMP is an international organization funded entirely by donor governments and foundations. This financial assistance enables the work of ICMP’s forensic anthropologists and archeologists at mass grave sites, of scientists in the ICMP laboratories extracting DNA profiles from bones and family members’ blood samples for identification of the missing, and of other ICMP programs that assist family members of missing persons and local governments.

“During his time in this country, Ambassador Koukakis has been a strong supporter of ICMP, recognizing the vital role of the organization and advocating on ICMP’s behalf with the donor community,” said Kathryne Bomberger, ICMP Chief of Staff. “While the Government of Greece has tended to focus its program of assistance on large scale reconstruction and de-mining projects, this donation will be of great value in ICMP’s work at our Re-association Center,” she added.

ICMP activities are also supported by the Governments of the United States of America, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Ireland and Germany, and by the European Union and the Holy See.