ICMP Launches Missing Persons Online Inquiry Center

ICMP Director General Kathryne Bomberger addresses the media during hte presentation of ICMP Online Inquiry Center at ICMP Headquarters

9 February 2011: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) announced the launch of its interactive online missing persons search tool called the “ICMP Online Inquiry Center” today at its Headquarters. The ICMP Online Inquiry Center will allow families of the missing and others to track missing persons cases through three different search engines, including the “Missing Persons Inquiry,” the “Postmortem Sample Inquiry,” and the “Excavation Site Inquiry.”

If families have reported a missing person to ICMP, the Missing Persons Inquiry will allow them to find information on the status of the case. The Online Inquiry Center is interactive. Families can use it to both obtain and provide information. For government authorities and forensic professionals who have submitted postmortem samples to the ICMP for DNA testing, the Postmortem Sample Inquiry will allow them to track their cases. The Excavation Site Inquiry will allow users to search for general information regarding the status of DNA testing for specific excavation sites.

“The ICMP Online Inquiry Center is a search tool that will greatly improve transparency and accountability in the search for missing persons,” said Ms. Kathryne Bomberger, ICMP Director General. “The relatives of the missing who have provided a blood reference sample to ICMP will for the first time be able to go on our website and check the status of their cases. If we have obtained a DNA match they will be directed to the government authority that has received the report.”

Adnan Rizvic, ICMP Deputy Director of the Forensic Science Department, explains the ICMP Online Inquiry Center to journalists at ICMP Headquarters in Sarajevo.

“The ICMP Online Inquiry Center is available as of today to family members who have donated blood samples to ICMP and others who are searching for missing persons from the armed conflicts of the 1990’s in the Western Balkans. It will be expanded soon to include cases worldwide where ICMP maintains operations, or where it still has open cases. The Postmortem Sample Inquiry will only be available to government authorities and forensic experts that participate in ICMP’s DNA identification program. The Excavation Site Inquiry will be available soon to the general public,” said Adnan Rizvic, ICMP Deputy Director of the Forensic Science Department.

The ICMP maintains a database of 150,000 genetic profiles obtained from relatives of the missing and government authorities worldwide. This database consists of over 90,000 blood reference samples obtained from family members of the missing and over 50,000 postmortem samples submitted to ICMP by government authorities searching for missing persons.

By matching the reference samples obtained from relatives of the missing to postmortem samples submitted to ICMP by government authorities, ICMP is able to assist in identifying persons missing from armed conflict, crimes against humanity, as well as natural disasters. Through the provision of DNA identity testing, ICMP has assisted in closing over 18,000 missing persons cases.

ICMP seeks to secure the co-operation of governments and other authorities in locating and identifying persons missing as a result of armed conflicts, other hostilities or violations of human rights and to assist them in doing so. ICMP pioneered the use of DNA technology to identify large numbers of missing persons, maintains the highest throughput capability for DNA-based identifications in the world and as such it has become a centre for global assistance, not only in cases of human rights violations, but also in disaster situations. It has also developed a unique software platform called the fDMS to manage the complex data, which it makes available to governments.

For further information, or for photographs, please contact Jasmina Mameledžija on +387 33 280 800 or +387 61 225 239, email press@ic-mp.org, or visit our website at www.ic-mp.org