19 March 2007: During the visit to the facilities of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Tuzla today, the Ambassador from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Fahad Al-Zeid, said he was impressed with the work that has been achieved in locating, recovering and identifying missing persons from the conflicts in Bosnia and Herzegovina.Accompanied by ICMP Director-General, Kathryne Bomberger, he visited ICMP’s center that catalogs all blood samples collected by ICMP from relatives of the missing and all bone samples received from government authorities. After being bar coded they are sent to ICMP laboratories for DNA analysis. Once extracted, the DNA profiles are entered into ICMP’s database and matched. The ambassador also visited the Podrinje Identification Project (PIP), which was specifically created to assist in the identification of persons missing from the 1995 fall of Srebrenica. To date ICMP has made almost 4,100 DNA matches of different individuals from the former Safe area.
“ICMP is daily confronting the suffering of mankind. I am amazed by the professionalism and dedication shown by ICMP experts. The work of ICMP is a noble contribution to peace and stability in the region”, said Ambassador Al-Zeid adding that ICMP’s expertise would be of value to any post-conflict society, burdened with the problem of missing persons, from the Middle East to Latin America.
To date ICMP has collected more than 83,000 blood samples, which accounts for nearly 28,000 different people missing from the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. In addition, ICMP has assisted in making over 11,300 identifications of different individuals using DNA. It is estimated that around 17,000 persons are still missing from the conflicts in the region.
“It is very important for society that we continue resolving the fate of the missing”, said Ms. Bomberger and she highlighted that “continued support to the work of ICMP for the next few years will enable us to make around 20,000 DNA identifications. With this we would be very close to providing answers to majority of families still waiting to learn the fate of their missing in the Balkans”.
ICMP is funded through voluntary grants, donations and contributions by participating governments.