21 September 2005: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) and the Croatian Ministry of Family, Veteran’s Affairs, and Intergenerational Solidarity announced the first results of Joint Project on DNA-led Identifications. Based on these results, an additional 50 families will finally know the fate of their loved ones.Forty-five matches between blood samples collected by ICMP and bone samples analyzed in labs in Croatia were generated in Croatian labs. Five new matches were generated between bones analyzed by ICMP and blood collected by Croatian authorities, with another two matches regenerated under the project which had already been matched in ICMP labs.
“Today we see tremendous results. But rather than the culmination of the project, it is what we hope will be seen as the commencement of a new phase of increased joint success in providing answers to all families,” said Jeffrey Buenger, ICMP Director of Government Relations. “Both sides anticipate additional matches, meaning more families will be able to close the painful period of uncertainty,” he added.
Building on its efforts in the Republic of Croatia since 1996, in November 2004, ICMP and the Ministry of Family, Veteran’s Affairs, and Intergenerational Solidarity signed the Joint Project on DNA-led Identifications.
This joint project envisioned two phases; the first of which was a joint campaign to collect blood samples from families of persons with missing relatives. This was successfully completed in November 2004. An additional 754 blood samples were collected.
The second part of the Joint Project commenced in June, with ICMP and the Ministry exchanging blinded DNA profiles so that matches could be found between all blood samples that have been collected by either ICMP or the Ministry and all bone samples that have been analyzed by either ICMP or the Ministry and the Croatian labs.
To ensure compatibility between the Ministry and ICMP systems, ICMP provided the Ministry with its DNA matching software.
The objective of the Joint Project is to resolve outstanding cases of all missing persons through the use of a DNA-based system of identification.