Serbia: New ICMP Initiative To Locate Clandestine Graves Launched

Sarajevo, 6 December 2017: The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), in cooperation with the Government Commission on Missing Persons of the Republic of Serbia, has launched the “Site Locator” on-line application in Serbia to assist in locating clandestine gravesites.

The Site Locator is a global application, but is initially being launched in the countries of the Western Balkans to assist in locating the remaining 12,000 persons missing from the conflicts in former Yugoslavia.  While more than 70 percent of the 40,000 who were missing in the region at the end of these conflicts have been accounted for, it is essential that every effort continues to be made to resolve remaining cases. The Site Locator is easy to use and can be accessed at ICMP’s Online Inquiry Center. Information can be provided anonymously, or may include contact details.

At a press conference today, the Head of ICMP’s Western Balkans Program, Matthew Holliday, explained how members of the public can use the Site Locator to provide information.

“ICMP welcomes the renewed commitment of the Government Commission on Missing Persons of the Republic of Serbia to locate clandestine gravesites, by providing a link to ICMP’s Site Locator on its website,” he said. “We hope that this will result in new information that will help to locate possible mass and clandestine graves, and help the Government Commission on Missing Persons of the Republic of Serbia in its efforts to account for missing persons.”

“Serbia is pleased to continue our collaboration with ICMP which began in 1996 and was formalized in 2001, when ICMP signed agreements with the authorities, which included assistance in recovering mortal remains of missing persons, and using ICMP’s DNA-led system of human identification,” said  Veljko Odalovic, the Chair of the Government Commission on Missing Persons of the Republic of Serbia. “We look forward to continued collaboration with ICMP so we may uphold the rights of families – wherever they may be – to know the fate of their loved ones.”

The Site Locator, an application within the Online Inquiry Center (OIC), is part of ICMP’s Identification Data Management System (iDMS), a global system that ICMP provides to governments, families of the missing, technical experts and other stakeholders engaged in addressing the issue of missing persons. The iDMS has a set of powerful integrated applications that support the process of storing, processing and analyzing data on missing persons, investigations, and identifications. The iDMS ensures secure access to the database, regardless of location, thus increasing interoperability among all stakeholders working on the missing persons issue.

In addition to the Site Locator, the OIC has several other well-established public functions. The “Report a Missing Person” function enables the provision of basic biographical information about a person who has gone missing – name, date and place of birth, physical description, names of family members, and circumstances (where these are known) when the person was last seen. The “Missing Persons Inquiry” function allows families of the missing to track ICMP’s efforts to identify individuals using its DNA matching techniques.