Ukraine signed agreements with the International Commission on Missing Persons

The Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Health of Ukraine signed agreements with the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP)  as part of its program to help the authorities harmonize their efforts to account for tens of thousands of people who are missing as a result of the Russian invasion and ongoing war, stated in the press release of the Сommission on Tuesday.

The Memorandum on Cooperation signed with the Ministry of Justice will support efforts to enhance investigations into missing persons cases, including a DNA-led identification process and other techniques used to locate missing persons in cooperation with the relevant domestic institutions. This agreement will contribute to:

  • the effectiveness of investigations into missing persons cases caused by crimes against humanity, primarily against the civilian population of Ukraine;
  • fast and effective international support in forensic examinations, with a view to strengthening human rights;
  • harmonization and development of advanced data systems capabilities to ensure proper chain of evidence and cooperation among Ukrainian institutions; and scientific, technical and research activities to enhance procedures to find large numbers of missing persons.

The Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Ministry of Health creates a framework for ICMP to assist the Ministry with capacity building and provide support in the field of forensic science, particularly, in regard to forensic anthropology, forensic odontology, data collection and processing, and effective case management.

The MoU will facilitate the transfer of forensic expertise and will contribute to:

  • developing standard operating procedures (SOPs) and guidelines based on international standards and best practice in the field of forensic medicine;
  • assisting in strengthening the infrastructure and technical capacities of forensic bureaus, based on needs assessments and consultations; and
  • supporting the introduction of post-mortem computed tomography (PMCT) to the forensic system in Ukraine, to improve the timely and appropriate processing of a large number of cases.

ICMP is already providing support to the Ministry of Health’s forensic bureaus.

At today’s signing ceremonies at the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Health in Kyiv, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Bomberger said: “There are already tens of thousands of missing persons from the ongoing war and the numbers of missing persons continue to grow.  No country on its own can find such a huge number of missing persons and investigate their disappearances to a level where evidence of such atrocities can be provided to an international tribunal, while also fighting a war.  ICMP’s support to Ukraine is aimed at helping Ukraine to enhance its existing capabilities to meet these demands.”

ICMP is an intergovernmental organization with Headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands. Its mandate is to secure the cooperation of governments and other authorities in locating persons missing as a result of conflicts, human rights abuses, disasters, organized violence and other causes and to assist them in doing so.

The ICMP program in Ukraine is supported by the Government of Canada, the European External Action Service of the European Union (FPI), the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, and the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) of the United States Department of State.


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