Thu, Oct 26, 2017 - Page 6 News List

Missing persons group opens new high-tech center

Reuters, THE HAGUE, Netherlands

The organization that identified tens of thousands of victims from the Balkan wars of the 1990s on Tuesday opened a new global headquarters in the Netherlands from where it will take on new cases around the world.

The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), established after the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, will use the latest DNA technology to identify bodies.

There are millions of reported cases of missing persons worldwide, with as many as a million in Iraq, tens of thousands in Syria and Lebanon, and many more from Colombia to the Philippines.

“The numbers are staggering,” ICMP head Kathyrne Bomberger said. “Moving here increases the perception that we are a global organization and understand that the issue of missing persons itself is a huge global problem that isn’t just in the western Balkans.”

The ICMP, which has identified 20,000 remains and provided evidence in 30 criminal trials, is to continue working with war crimes courts in The Hague, including the genocide trial of former Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic.

The advanced application of DNA technology, which has now made it possible to use samples from distant family members to create comparable DNA profiles, could also be used to help identify undocumented migrants.

“We are now on the brink of a new level of being able to roll out this possibility to missing migrants, including the 10,000 children missing in Europe,” Bomberger said.

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