Tripoli, 12 November 2012 – ICMP Director General Kathryne Bomberger and the Libyan Minister for the Affairs of Families of Martyrs and of Missing Persons, Naser Jibril Hamed, signed an agreement on cooperation in Tripoli today to address missing persons cases from the recent conflicts as well as from the 42-year regime of Muammar Gaddafi.
As part of the agreement, ICMP will provide assistance in the creation of a Libyan Identification Center (LIC) as the first, important step in enabling Libya to develop a sustainable process to work on the issue of missing persons. The LIC will allow for the development of a DNA laboratory system, starting with a facility to collect and store biological samples for DNA identity testing and possibly culminating in the creation of a high throughput DNA laboratory. The LIC would also enable Libyan authorities to coordinate the domestic process, as well as international assistance.
Through the project ICMP will provide comprehensive trainings for Libyan experts involved in the process of investigation of mass graves from field to mortuary and other trainings necessary for a successful recovery and identification process. ICMP will donate a Libya-specific version of its Forensic Data Management System (fDMS), a specialized software solution built internally by the ICMP to record all identification activities. As part of its legal assistance, ICMP will help Libya in creating legislation specific to the missing persons’ process.
“I am delighted to sign this agreement with Mr. Naser Jibril. I have not seen a greater commitment to resolving the cases of missing persons than what I saw here in Libya and ICMP is eager to start working side by side with our Libyan colleagues in resolving this painful part of Libya’s history. Libyan families have the right to know and have the right to justice. ICMP will do all in its power to help Libya create a transparent and accountable process“, said ICMP Director General Kathryne Bomberger during the signing ceremony.
“Muammer Gaddafi and his regime stole a smile from the lips of many Libyan families through abduction and enforced disappearance of their children. Today we are striving to bring them their smile back and today I am delighted to sign this agreement with Ms. Kathryne Bomberger, the Director General of the International Commission on Missing Persons, ICMP, considering that ICMP is one of world’s most important organizations engaged in the search and identification of missing persons. This has motivated us to seek cooperation with ICMP for the benefit of sons of the Libyan people who were disappeared by Gadhafi’s regime during more than 42 years. The best proof of what this regime did are the cases of abduction and enforced disappearance during the 17th February Revolution. As we sign this agreement we ask the God Almighty to return hope to the families of the missing and we ask Him that we are drawing a path of hope for a better life”, said Libyan Minister for the Affairs of Families of Martyrs and of Missing Persons, Naser Jibril Hamed, following the signing ceremony.
Previously, the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) and the Ministry for the Families of Martyrs and Missing (MFMM) invited ICMP to assist Libya in locating, recovering and identifying persons missing from the recent conflicts as well as persons missing from the 42-year regime of Muammar Gaddafi. ICMP has deployed a team of experts to discuss assisting Libya and provide immediate assistance in resolving specific cases. In March 2012 the Libyan Minister for the Affairs of Families of Martyrs and of Missing Persons Naser Jibril Hamed and a group of experts visited ICMP headquarters in Sarajevo.
The ICMP was created at a G-7 summit in 1996 and it is the only specialized international organization that addresses the issue of missing persons in all of its facets. The organization provides a comprehensive approach to assisting governments. It helps build the institutional infrastructure of affected states. It works with civil society to ensure their active and meaningful engagement. It provides technical assistance to governments in locating, recovering and identifying the missing and it supports the work of the judicial sector.
As part of its technical assistance, ICMP maintains the world’s largest, most efficient DNA laboratory system dedicated to exclusively to identifying missing persons. It has created a database that is capable of processing information on cases globally. It promotes transparency and accountability and it ensures the consistent application of standards, including the protection of personal data. Today ICMP has helped scientifically identify more than 18,000 persons and its database houses 150,000 genetic samples.