Italian Contribution to ICMP DNA Laboratories

25 November 2005: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) will receive a 50,000 Euro contribution from the Government of Italy. The Italian contribution is earmarked for ICMP’s standard setting work in making DNA identifications and they will directly fund ICMP’s DNA laboratory work. By making this contribution, Italy will join the group of countries and organizations supporting the work of ICMP, thus bringing the total number of sponsoring governments to 15.The ICMP incorporates the use of DNA as a primary tool in post-conflict identifications; this method requires the collection and profiling of DNA from blood samples donated by family members with missing relatives for matching with DNA extracted from bone samples taken from recovered mortal remains. The DNA match report generated by ICMP is given to court appointed forensic experts to make final, legal binding identifications, thus assisting governments in bringing closure to families of the missing regarding the fate of missing loved ones.

“Family members of missing persons, as well as governments and forensic experts have agreed that a DNA-based identification process is the only accurate way to identify mortal remains of missing persons as a result of conflict and crimes against humanity,” said Kathryne Bomberger, ICMP Chief of Staff when the donation was received. “Through the use of DNA, ICMP has provided accurate identifications and thus hopes to have contributed to a sense of closure for family members and helped the society as a whole.” “I would like to thank the Italian Government for this important contribution,” Ms. Bomberger stated.

ICMP made its first DNA match in November 2001, and since then the organization has made over 8,500 DNA matches of different individuals missing from the conflicts in the regions of the former Yugoslavia, of which approximately 6,700 are of persons missing from Bosnia Herzegovina. A delegation of Italian Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina visited ICMP facilities in Tuzla in April this year learning more about the process of recovering and identifying of missing persons.

“The work that ICMP does is impressive and I hope that our contribution will assist the International Commission on Missing Persons in expediting the process of providing answers regarding the fate of their loved ones,” said H.E. Ambassador Alessandro Fallavollita.

The work of ICMP is also supported by the Governments of the United States of America, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Greece and the Holy See, Sweden, the European Union and Thailand.