Spain supports ICMP and efforts to search for Missing Persons

29 October 2009: The Spanish Ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina, His Excellency Senor Alejandro Enrique Alvargonzalez San Martin, visited the forensic facilities of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Tuzla. The Ambassador was accompanied by a delegation from The Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID).

He and the delegation then travelled to the Potocari Memorial Centre outside Srebrenica and then to the excavation of a mass grave located outside the town of Sokolac in eastern Bosnia.

The Spanish Government, via AECID, have been strong supporters of ICMP since 2008, donating 350,000 Euros for the activities of its Forensic Sciences Division, focusing on ICMP’s technical assistance to the excavation process and to the examination of mortal remains to assist identification. AECID has also provided assistance worth some 50,000 Euros to ICMP’s assistance program in Colombia.

“Seeing at first hand the different operations of ICMP in Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as the profoundly moving and humbling memorial to the victims at the Potocari Memorial Centre, it is impossible to underestimate both the depth and the scale of the problem of missing persons in this country,” said Ambassador Alvargonzalez San Martin.

“Through its activities, ICMP is assisting Governments to meet their obligations to the families of missing persons enabling them to achieve some form of closure.  This is part of a process that will enable Bosnian society to overcome the wounds of the past.”

Using DNA-assisted identification techniques, ICMP has made 15,110 DNA identifications following the armed conflicts of the 1990s in the Western Balkans. Of these 12,681 relate to Bosnia-Herzegovina including 6,262 reported missing following the 1995 fall of Srebrenica.

“Since 2008, the Spanish government has granted a total of 400,000 Euros to ICMP, and we are very grateful for their support and for their commitment to the families of the missing in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said ICMP’s Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Adam Boys.

In addition to its technical support, ICMP is the co-founder of the Missing Persons Institute of BiH, and contributes to transitional justice activities, provides legislative support and helps in the development of networks of civil society organizations which advocate for truth, justice, and the rights of family members of missing persons.

ICMP’s work is also supported by the governments of Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, the Holy See, Iceland, Ireland, Poland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States and the EU.