19 February 2014: A group of Scottish dignitaries led by Mr. Angus Robertson MP paid a two-day visit to the headquarters of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP). This was the third visit to ICMP organized by Dr. Waqar Azmi OBE, the Chairman of the charitable initiative “Remembering Srebrenica”. The initiative seeks to encourage British opinion-makers to reflect on the lessons that may be learned from the conflict in Bosnia with the aim of preventing such things from happening elsewhere.
In addition to Mr. Robertson, the delegation included the Right Reverend Lorna Hood, Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Ann McKechin MP the Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, Sgt. David Hamilton of the Scottish Police Federation, Seonag MacKinnon of the Church of Scotland and David Pratt the Foreign News Editor of the Sunday Herald.
The delegation was introduced to ICMP’s work in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including capacity building, assistance to courts, work with associations of families, as well as ICMP’s DNA-led high throughput human identification system. A specific emphasis was put on the identification of the particularly complex cases of the approximately 8,100 people who went missing from Srebrenica in July 1995.
Following the visit to ICMP’s facilities the group travelled to Srebrenica to meet associations of families of Srebrenica victims and to visit the Srebrenica Memorial Centre.
Delegation head, Mr. Angus Robertson said: “The International Commission on Missing Persons performs a critical role in support of truth, justice and the families of victims. I would like to pay tribute to all of the ICMP staff for their dedication and professionalism. The cutting edge work the Commission undertakes is crucial to deal with the tragic consequences of missing people in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in many other countries in the world. I sincerely hope that the international community secures both the necessary legal status for the ICMP and the resources to continue its vital work.”
The Right Reverend Lorna Hood Moderator of the Church of Scotland said: “I have been deeply moved and deeply privileged to meet the mothers of Srebrenica. Through their words and tears we learned not only of their dreadful past but also of their continuing fight for justice and their hopes for the future. The work done by the ICMP in research and identification is truly remarkable. Their expertise, rigorous objectivity and dedication helps ensure that those responsible are brought to justice and allows families to say goodbye and bury their loved ones.”
“We are very honoured to receive this delegation from Scotland who have travelled here to see at first hand the work of ICMP and other organizations engaged in assisting Bosnia and Herzegovina with its wartime legacy. Understanding the causes and consequences of intolerance is crucial to preventing the sorts of atrocities that took place here less than 20 years ago”, said Adam Boys, ICMP’s Director of International Programs.
The ICMP is the only specialized international organization of its kind that addresses the issue of missing persons in all of its facets. ICMP has helped the governments in the region of Western Balkans account for more than two thirds of those missing from the armed conflicts of the 1990’s including 7,000 who went missing from Srebrenica.
ICMP is actively involved in helping governments and other institutions in various parts of the world address social and political issues related to missing persons and establish effective identification systems in the wake of conflict or natural disaster.