ICMP helps domestic and international authorities implement missing persons processes that inculcate pluralistic and democratic standards. Locating persons unaccounted for constitutes a human right. It is also enshrined in International Humanitarian Law, which requires that parties to armed conflicts facilitate enquiries about persons missing as a result of hostilities. The State’s obligation to conduct effective investigations regarding missing persons is also a recognized procedural guarantee of the right to life. A range of corresponding rights have emerged from this, including the right to the truth and the right to justice.
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has stated that the international community should, “endeavor to recognize the right of victims of gross violations of human rights, and their families, and society as a whole to know the truth to the fullest extent practicable.” Those whose human rights have been violated are entitled to all possible information regarding the circumstances of human rights abuses. In addition to the right to the truth, the right to justice must be ensured.
ICMP assists justice institutions, including the international and domestic criminal justice system by providing expert evidence and other specialized forensic capacity, including testimony, reports and depositions.
ICMP has provided testimony on its archaeological field and human identification work in numerous cases before domestic and international courts.
Where ICMP provides operational assistance to locate and identify missing persons it also issues routine reports on its work to competent courts and other authorities participating in processes to locate the missing. These routine submissions often consist of aggregate records that assist parties to criminal trials in the preparation of motions and are therefore confidential.
ICMP has also made depositions for consideration by the parties to criminal trials, including explanations of its policies, including its data processing and protection policy, and technical processes, such as anthropological examinations, archaeological field work, and DNA-led identification.