7 April 2005: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is pleased to announce that Swedish Ambassador and High Commissioner on National Minorities of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Rolf Ekéus has joined the ICMP Commission.Ambassador Ekéus has a distinguished career in international diplomacy, with a strong focus on arms control, disarmament and conflict prevention. As well as representing Sweden for many years in the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Ambassador Ekéus was, from 1991 to 1997, Director of the United Nations Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM), the UN body charged with overseeing Iraqi disarmament.
Ambassador Ekéus’ dedication to conflict prevention, his experience in working with national minorities and his background in Iraq will be valuable assets to the mission of ICMP. Through its work in exhumation and identification of victims of violent conflict, as well as its policy advocacy with governments and support of families of missing victims, ICMP contributes to providing truth and justice for family members and for post-conflict societies as a whole, creating a more stable peace and helping to avoid further conflict.
“The issue of persons missing from armed conflicts, from abuses of human rights and from other crimes against humanity is a global concern and ICMP is the only organization in the world that specifically addresses the complexities of this problem on a political, human rights and technical level”, said Ambassador Ekéus when his appointment to the ICMP Commission was announced.
ICMP’s pioneering work in the use of DNA technology to make identifications on a mass scale has made it possible to locate, identify and commemorate thousands of victims of the wars in the former Yugoslavia. As a result of its successes, sponsoring governments have asked ICMP to apply its expertise in other parts of the world and ICMP has recently begun to work with the authorities in Iraq, where at least 300,000 persons are believed to be buried in mass graves around the country.
James Kimsey, Chairman of the Kimsey Foundation and Founding CEO and Chairman Emeritus of America Online, is the current Chairman of the ICMP Board of Commissioners. The other current members of the Commission are Willem Kok, former Prime Minister of the Netherlands; Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan; and Michael Portillo, former British Secretary of Defense.