Deputy Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Smyrnov held a meeting with Director for Policy and Cooperation of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) Andreas Kleiser, Program Director of ICMP in Europe Matthew Holliday, and ICMP Legal Consultant Oleksandr Krasnoborov.
The meeting participants discussed cooperation and preparation for launching the program of the International Commission in Ukraine.
"The issue of missing citizens of Ukraine was and will remain one of the key ones, especially in the conditions of armed aggression against Ukraine. We are open to constant dialogue and will make every effort to start the work of the International Commission in Ukraine as soon as possible," the deputy head of the Office of the President said.
He also said that Ukraine has had a positive experience of opening two offices of international organizations in the past year: the International Criminal Court and the OECD, and is also preparing to open a permanent office of IDLO – the International Development Law Organization.
Kleiser, for his part, said that ICMP works at the international level with many countries and seeks to help Ukraine.
"We have agreements on cooperation with international criminal tribunals and national tribunals. We help in the work of their large network and, of course, at the level of domestic organizations," he said.
In the spring of 2022, ICMP and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine exchanged diplomatic notes, after which personnel were sent to Kyiv to begin preparations to launch the program. The Ukrainian ICMP program is supported by the European Union and Canada. Currently, work on the final draft of the cooperation agreement is underway.
The ICMP director for policy and cooperation said that the Commission can provide Ukrainian authorities with access to its DNA laboratory in The Hague and a database that opens up great opportunities for obtaining DNA profiles in extremely complex cases, such as degraded bone samples. The Commission would be pleased to cooperate with Ukraine because such cooperation would be effective.
The meeting participants agreed on coordination and cooperation to achieve the final goal – the signing of the cooperation agreement and the start of the program of the International Commission on Missing Persons.
ICMP is an intergovernmental organization with headquarters in The Hague that assists governments in exhuming mass graves and identifying missing persons through DNA. The Commission also provides support to associations of families of missing persons and helps in the creation of strategies and institutions to locate the missing. In addition, ICMP helps governments develop legislation to protect the rights of families of missing persons; maintains a unique specialized Online Inquiry Center (OIC) and the Integrated Data Management System (iDMS) that manages all data related to missing persons. The Commission provides training and education programs to a wide range of individuals, including government authorities, prosecutors and judges, NGOs, families of the missing, and forensic practitioners.