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.”

“I would like to thank ICMP for the interest, cooperation, engagement and assistance that this organization has provided to the Republic of Serbia and the Commission for Missing Persons of the Government of the Republic of Serbia in resolving this significant humanitarian issue. ICMP has achieved remarkable results in addressing the issue of missing persons throughout the region through the process of identifying victims of armed conflicts in the former Yugoslavia through the introduction, development and centralization of capabilities for the application of DNA analysis methods,” said  Veljko Odalovic, the Chair of the Government Commission on Missing Persons of the Republic of Serbia. “We are committed to continuing the cooperation with ICMP in order to address the rights of the families, and that is to learn out the fate of their loved ones, regardless of their national, religious or any other affiliation.”

The Site Locator, an application within the Online Inquiry Center (OIC), is part of ICMP’s Integrated 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.

About ICMP

ICMP is a treaty-based international organization based in The Hague, the Netherlands. Its mandate is to secure the cooperation of governments and others in locating and identifying missing persons from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, irregular migration and other causes and to assist them in doing so. It is the only international organization tasked exclusively to work on the issue of missing persons.