16 March 2013: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) recently received skeletal samples and blood reference samples from Libyan authorities related to the high-profile case of the Bin Jawad mass grave. ICMP carried out the DNA analysis in its laboratories and compared the profiles of post mortem samples with blood reference samples obtained from families of the missing. As a result, 95 positive DNA matches were made of different individuals.
While most of the cases pertain to the Bin Jawad mass grave, 2 of the match reports pertain to persons whose unidentified mortal remains were kept in a refrigerator in a Tripoli hospital since 1984. The submission of these reports follows the recent positive identification made by ICMP of Dr. Mansour Rashid Kikhia who allegedly disappeared in Egypt in 1993 and whose mortal remains were found in Libya.
The Libyan authorities responsible for submitting the samples will now need to carry out a post-mortem analysis, inform the families of the missing that their relatives have been identified and legally close the cases.
“ICMP is committed to assisting the Libyan Government continue to develop its capability to address this painful issue. As we do so, we are also assisting them through using our standing capacity to conduct high throughput DNA identification testing to assist in resolving large numbers of missing persons cases. We hope that by expediting this process we will bring long awaited answers to families of the missing who have waited to learn the fate of their loved ones,” said Kathryne Bomberger, ICMP Director General.
On November 12, 2012, the ICMP and the Libyan Government signed an agreement on cooperation 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 is providing 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. ICMP also provides comprehensive training for Libyan experts in the field of mortal remains recovery.
ICMP’s DNA identification efforts of Bin Jawad mass grave were funded by the British Government, as announced by the British Ambassador to Libya H.E. Michael Aron in early February. The Government of the United States and the Government of Denmark are also contributing to ICMP’s program in Libya and the Government of Libya is also providing important support.
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. ICMP has offices in the Western Balkans, Iraq, and Libya.