14 October 2009: The German Government has provided 500,000 Euros to the International Commission on Missing Persons demonstrating its continued commitment to the process of recovery and identification of persons missing in the Western Balkans. In a separate grant agreement the German Government will, for the first time, support ICMP’s programs in Iraq with a contribution of some 700,000 Euros for the period to the end of 2010. This brings to almost 3,150,000 EUR the total amount of funding committed by the German government to ICMP.
The German Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, H.E. Joachim Schmidt, signed both funding agreements on behalf of the Federal Republic of Germany with ICMP’s Director-General Ms. Kathryne Bomberger at ICMP’s headquarters in Sarajevo. The Iraqi grant is to be used for the development of an Iraq-specific Forensic Data Management System (fDMS) that will be tailored to suit the missing persons issue in Iraq. The Western Balkans grant shall be directed towards the purchase of essential forensic equipment and supplies.
“ICMP is the only international organization with a worldwide mandate to be headquartered in Sarajevo, and the contribution for work in Iraq reflects the strength of ICMP’s approach to the issue of missing persons that has been developed in the Western Balkans and particularly in Bosnia- Herzegovina,” said Kathryne Bomberger, ICMP’s Director General. “We are not only very grateful for the German government’s support to the ICMP, but for their proven and unwavering commitment to the families of the missing in the Western Balkans, and now in Iraq as well.”
“The operations of The International Commission on Missing Persons are crucial to the ongoing promotion of justice and reconciliation, not only in the Western Balkans, to assisting families and relatives of the missing, and the German government is committed to assisting in this process.” said H.E Joachim Schmidt, the German Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
ICMP opened an office in Baghdad in 2008 to provide training to the staff of Iraqi ministries in best practice techniques for the excavation of mass graves. It has been approached by the Ministry for Human Rights, Baghdad, to assist in the creation of a database management system which will be capable of storing and administering data relating to hundreds of thousands of persons missing in that country. ICMP will adapt and re-structure its own fDMS system to correspond to the institutional and legal landscape in Iraq, and to train Iraqi software experts in its operation.
ICMP’s DNA-assisted identification programs have enabled it to identify more than 16,400 missing persons worldwide since its DNA system went online in 2001. More than 15,000 of these identifications are of persons missing from armed conflicts in the Western Balkans, while the remainder relate to ICMP’s work with the Governments of South Africa, Chile, Norway, the Philippines, Thailand and Cameroon. ICMP is also assisting the Government of Colombia in developing its capacity to address the issue of missing persons.
The work of ICMP is also supported by the Governments of Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, the Holy See, Iceland, Ireland, Poland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, the UK, the United States, as well as the UN and the European Union.