Practice Relating to Rule 117. Accounting for Missing Persons

Geneva Convention III
Article 123 of the 1949 Geneva Convention III provides:
A Central Prisoners of War Information Agency shall be created in a neutral country. The International Committee of the Red Cross shall, if it deems necessary, propose to the Powers concerned the organization of such an Agency.
The function of the Agency shall be to collect all the information it may obtain through official or private channels respecting prisoners of war, and to transmit it as rapidly as possible to the country of origin of the prisoners of war or to the Power on which they depend. It shall receive from the Parties to the conflict all facilities for effecting such transmissions.
The High Contracting Parties, and in particular those whose nationals benefit by the services of the Central Agency, are requested to give the said Agency the financial aid it may require.
The foregoing provisions shall in no way be interpreted as restricting the humanitarian activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross, or of the relief Societies provided for in Article 125. 
Convention (III) relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article 123.
Geneva Convention IV
Article 140 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV provides:
A Central Information Agency for protected persons, in particular for internees, shall be created in a neutral country. The International Committee of the Red Cross shall, if it deems necessary, propose to the Powers concerned the organization of such an Agency, which may be the same as that provided for in Article 123 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War of August 12, 1949.
The function of the Agency shall be to collect all information of the type set forth in Article 136 which it may obtain through official or private channels and to transmit it as rapidly as possible to the countries of origin or of residence of the persons concerned, except in cases where such transmissions might be detrimental to the persons whom the said information concerns, or to their relatives. It shall receive from the Parties to the conflict all reasonable facilities for effecting such transmissions.
The High Contracting Parties, and in particular those whose nationals benefit by the services of the Central Agency, are requested to give the said Agency the financial aid it may require.
The foregoing provisions shall in no way be interpreted as restricting the humanitarian activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross and of the relief Societies described in Article 142. 
Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, Geneva, 12 August 1949, Article 140.
Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Viet-Nam
Chapter III of the 1973 Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Viet-Nam provided that the parties were to help each other in obtaining information about military personnel and foreign civilians of the parties missing in action and to take any measures as may be required to get information about those missing. The Four-Party Joint Military Commission was to ensure joint action by the parties in implementing this part of the agreement. 
Agreement on Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Viet-Nam, signed on behalf of the United States of America, the Republic of Viet-Nam, the Democratic Republic of Viet-Nam, and the Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Viet-Nam, Paris, 27 January 1973, Chapter III.
Inter-American Convention on the Enforced Disappearance of Persons
Article 12 of the 1994 Inter-American Convention on the Enforced Disappearance of Persons provides:
The States Parties shall give each other mutual assistance in the search for, identification, location, and return of minors who have been removed to another state or detained therein as a consequence of the forced disappearance of their parents or guardians. 
Inter-American Convention on the Forced Disappearance of Persons, adopted by the Twenty-fourth Regular Session of the OAS General Assembly, Res. 1256 (XXIV-O/94), Belém do Pará, 9 June 1994, Article 12.
Agreement on Refugees and Displaced Persons annexed to the Dayton Accords
Article 5 of the 1995 Agreement on Refugees and Displaced Persons annexed to the Dayton Accords provides: “The Parties shall also cooperate fully with the ICRC in its efforts to determine the identities, whereabouts and fate of the unaccounted for.” 
General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Annex 7, Agreement on Refugees and Displaced Persons, signed by the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republika Srpska, Dayton, 22 November 1995, Article 5.
Convention on Enforced Disappearance
The 2006 Convention on Enforced Disappearance provides:
Recalling … relevant international instruments in the fields of human rights, humanitarian law and international criminal law,
Article 15
States Parties shall cooperate with each other and shall afford one another the greatest measure of mutual assistance with a view to assisting victims of enforced disappearance, and in searching for, locating and releasing disappeared persons and, in the event of death, in exhuming and identifying them and returning their remains. 
International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, adopted by the UN General Assembly, Res. 61/177, 20 December 2006, Annex, Preamble and Article 15.
Memorandum of Understanding on the Application of IHL between Croatia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Paragraph 8 of the 1991 Memorandum of Understanding on the Application of IHL between Croatia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia provides:
The parties agree to set up a Joint Commission to trace missing persons: the Joint Commission will be made up of representatives of the parties concerned, all Red Cross Organisations concerned and in particular the Yugoslav Red Cross, the Croatian Red Cross and the Serbian Red Cross, with ICRC participation. 
Memorandum of Understanding on the Application of International Humanitarian Law between Croatia and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Geneva, 27 November 1991, § 8.
Rules of Procedure of the Joint Commission to Trace Missing Persons and Mortal Remains
The 1991 Rules of Procedure of the Joint Commission to Trace Missing Persons and Mortal Remains set up in the context of the former Yugoslavia provides:
Rule 1(2)
… All of the Red Cross organizations concerned … are designated as permanent advisers to the members of the Joint Commission.
Rule 2(1)
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), acting as a neutral intermediary, shall put at the Joint Commission’s disposal a delegation which will chair the meetings of the Joint Commission.
Rule 18(1)
The ICRC shall bring to the Joint Commission’s attention, on its own initiative, any communication, proposal, plan of work or information which might contribute to the efficiency of the Joint Commission’s work. 
Joint Commission to Trace Missing Persons and Mortal Remains: Rules of Procedure and Plan of Operation, established on the Basis of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Republic of Croatia, Republic of Serbia, Yugoslav People’s Army and International Committee of the Red Cross, Pècs, 16 December 1991.
Plan of Operation for the Joint Commission to Trace Missing Persons and Mortal Remains
The 1991 Plan of Operation for the Joint Commission to Trace Missing Persons and Mortal Remains set up in the context of the former Yugoslavia states:
2.1.1 Each party is responsible for compiling a list of its reported missing, as well as a file on each missing [person] …
2.2.1 Each opened file shall be sent … to the ICRC which shall arrange for it to be forwarded to the party concerned …
2.2.2 … the adverse party/parties shall take all possible measures (administrative steps and public appeals) to obtain information on the person reported missing …
2.2.3 Once the enquiry has been completed, … the form “official request for missing person” with the accompanying documents shall be returned in duplicate to the ICRC, which shall forward them to the party on which the missing person depends.  
Plan of Operation Designed to Ascertain the Whereabouts or Fate of the Military and Civilian Missing, Annex to the Joint Commission to Trace Missing Persons and Mortal Remains: Rules of Procedure and Plan of Operation, established on the Basis of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Republic of Croatia, Republic of Serbia, Yugoslav People’s Army and the International Committee of the Red Cross, Pècs, 16 December 1991
Joint Declaration by the Presidents of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Croatia
Paragraph 3 of the Joint Declaration by the Presidents of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Croatia (October 1992) states: “The two Presidents further agree that their representatives will provide for an exchange of information on missing persons.” 
Joint Declaration by President Dobrica Cosić of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and President Franjo Tudjman of the Republic of Croatia, Geneva, 20 October 1992, annexed to Report of the UN Secretary-General on the International Conference on the Former Yugoslavia, UN Doc. S/24795, 11 November 1992, Annex VI, § 3.
UN Secretary-General’s Bulletin
Section 9.8 of the 1999 UN Secretary-General’s Bulletin provides: “The United Nations force … shall facilitate the work of the ICRC’s Central Tracing Agency.” 
Observance by United Nations Forces of International Humanitarian Law, Secretary-General’s Bulletin, UN Secretariat, UN Doc. ST/SGB/1999/13, 6 August 1999, Section 9.8.
Note. Statements found in military manuals concerning the provision of information through the Protecting Powers, the Central Tracing Agency of the International Committee of the Red Cross or the national Red Cross or Red Crescent societies have been quoted in Rule 117, Section B and are not repeated here.
Bangladesh
Bangladesh’s International Crimes (Tribunal) Act (1973) states that the “violation of any humanitarian rules applicable in armed conflicts laid down in the Geneva Conventions of 1949” is a crime. 
Bangladesh, International Crimes (Tribunal) Act, 1973, Section 3(2)(e).
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Law on Missing Persons (2004) states:
The competent authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina [are to] particularly cooperate with the ICRC, the ICMP [International Commission on Missing Persons], the MPI [Missing Persons Institute] and the Red Cross Society of Bosnia and Herzegovina in accordance with their mandates, with the aim of improving the tracing process. 
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Law on Missing Persons, 2004, Article 6.
Chad
Chad’s Decree on the Establishment of a Commission of Inquiry (2008) states:
Article 1: A Commission of inquiry has been established for the events that occurred in the Republic of Chad from 28 January to 08 February 2008 and their consequences.
Article 2: The mission of the commission of inquiry is to find and provide information about people reported missing …
Article 5: The President of the Commission may invite States, international institutions and organizations to participate in the work of the Commission of Inquiry as observers. 
Chad, Decree on the Establishment of a Commission of Inquiry, 2008, Articles 1–2 and 5.
Denmark
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (1973), as amended in 1978, provides:
Any person who uses war instruments or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or the general rules of international law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. a fine, lenient imprisonment or up to 12 years’ imprisonment]. 
Denmark, Military Criminal Code, 1973, as amended in 1978, § 25(1).
Denmark’s Military Criminal Code (2005) provides:
Any person who deliberately uses war means [“krigsmiddel”] or procedures the application of which violates an international agreement entered into by Denmark or international customary law, shall be liable to the same penalty [i.e. imprisonment up to life imprisonment]. 
Denmark, Military Criminal Code, 2005, § 36(2).
El Salvador
El Salvador’s Decree Creating the National Commission for Tracing Missing Children (2010) states:
Art. 1.- The National Commission for Tracing Girls and Boys Missing during the Internal Armed Conflict, which will be referred to as “Commission” or “Tracing Commission” hereinafter.
Art. 3.- The Commission shall have the mandate to:
f) Promote … the participation of private … international … organizations, to implement actions that will contribute to determining the whereabouts of the missing girls and boys. 
El Salvador, Decree Creating the National Commission for Tracing Missing Children, 2010, Articles 1–3(f).
The Decree also states: “The Tracing Commission … may communicate and coordinate with international governmental, intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations in order to execute its mandate.” 
El Salvador, Decree Creating the National Commission for Tracing Missing Children, 2010, Article 6.
Ireland
Under Ireland’s Geneva Conventions Act (1962), as amended in 1998, any “minor breach” of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, including violations of Article 123 of the 1949 Geneva Convention III and Article 140 of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV, is a punishable offence. 
Ireland, Geneva Conventions Act, 1962, as amended in 1998, Section 4(1) and (4).
Norway
Norway’s Military Penal Code (1902), as amended in 1981, provides:
Anyone who contravenes or is accessory to the contravention of provisions relating to the protection of persons or property laid down in … the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 … is liable to imprisonment. 
Norway, Military Penal Code, 1902, as amended in 1981, § 108(a).
No data.
Australia
According to the Report on the Practice of Australia, diplomatic correspondence and press releases show that, in 1984, a joint Australian-Vietnamese operation was launched “to search for the remains and resolve the cases” of six Australian personnel listed as “missing in action” in Viet Nam and “to follow up any other case which might subsequently be drawn to its attention”. The report states that the motive for the operation appears to be based primarily on political considerations (i.e. improvement of bilateral relations with Viet Nam). 
Report on the Practice of Australia, 1998, Chapter 5.2.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
In 2005, in its initial report to the Human Rights Committee, Bosnia and Herzegovina stated that its Law on Missing Persons (2004) includes provisions for the “direct cooperation of competent authorities throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina with neighbouring countries, in which the disappearance of a missing person might have occurred”. 
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Initial report to the Human Rights Committee, 24 November 2005, UN Doc. CCPR/C/BIH/1, § 46.
El Salvador
In 2008, in its third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, El Salvador stated:
The fieldwork [of the Inter-Institutional Commission to search for children who disappeared owing to armed conflict in El Salvador] includes interviews … with officials of … international institutions, such as … the International [Committee of the] Red Cross … , from which valuable and important information has been obtained. 
El Salvador, Third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, 23 July 2009, UN Doc. CRC/C/SLV/3-4, submitted 21 February 2008, § 383.
Germany
In 1995, in reply to a question in parliament, the German Government declared that it fully supported all efforts undertaken by UNHCR and the ICRC to find missing persons in the region of Srebrenica and to take care of them. 
Germany, Lower House of Parliament, Reply by the government to a question, Verbleib der Verschwundenen aus Srebrenica, BT-Drucksache 13/2877, 7 November 1995, p. 1.
Germany
In 1995, during a debate in the UN Security Council, Germany expressed its government’s full support for “the ongoing efforts of the ICRC and United Nations representatives to gain access to … information about the fate of all missing persons”. 
Germany, Statement before the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/PV.3591, 9 November 1995, pp. 2–3.
Honduras
In 1995, during a debate in the UN Security Council, Honduras stated that it considered it “deplorable that the parties have not fulfilled their commitments to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations to have access to persons … reported missing”.  
Honduras, Statement before the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/PV.3591, 9 November 1995, pp. 6–7.
Indonesia
In 1995, during a debate in the UN Security Council, Indonesia associated itself “with the demands that … representatives of UNHCR, the ICRC and other international agencies [be granted] unconditional access to persons … reported missing”. 
Indonesia, Statement before the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/PV.3612, 21 December 1995, p. 12.
Iraq
In 2009, in its comments on the “status of the Protocols additional to the 1949 Geneva Conventions relating to the protection of victims of armed conflict”, Iraq stated:
1. Iraq acceded to the first [A]dditional Protocol by Law No. 85 of 2001.
2. A working agreement was concluded with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) that empowered [the] ICRC, with the coordination and cooperation of the Ministry of Human Rights, to carry out its mandate, in accordance with the 1949 Geneva Conventions and its Protocols, to follow up the humanitarian file relating to prisoners, missing persons and the remains of war victims through a number of committees that were established by the Tripartite Commission which was constituted on 8 March 1991. One adjunct to the Commission was the Technical Subcommittee, the members of which include, in addition to Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, France, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America.
3. Two further committees were established concerning relations with Iran, namely, the Prisoners and Missing Persons Committee, which is a joint Iraq-Iran committee, and the joint Iraq-Iran technical committee that seeks the remains of war victims. Those committees operated up until 2003, after which two memorandums of understanding were concluded. The first, that was signed on 11 June 2008 by Iraq and ICRC, concerned follow-up to the Iraqi and Iranian prisoners file. The second, concluded by Iraq, Iran and ICRC, was signed in Geneva, Switzerland, on 16 October 2008, and concerned oversight of the work of the subcommittees. 
Iraq, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Iraq to the UN, Comments of the Government of Iraq on the status of the Protocols Additional to the 1949 Geneva Conventions relating to the protection of victims of armed conflicts, 7 July 2009, §§ 1–3.
Iraq
In 2010, Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a press release entitled “Foreign [M]inister receives the head of the Iraq program [of the] ICMP”, which stated:
On Feb. 082010, the [Minister of Foreign Affairs] received in his office the head of [the] Iraq program [of] the ICMP [International Commission on Missing Persons] where the [ICMP]’s work program [in Iraq] was discussed … and the necessity of starting an own office in Baghdad to support [the] government’s efforts to solve the issue of the missing persons.
Th[e ICMP] is not a specialized UN agency, but rather a non[-]governmental committee concerned with handling issues of missing persons during the Iran-Iraq war, the second [G]ulf war, and the victims [buried in] mass graves during the reign of the ex[-]regime, as well as persons [gone] missing in operations after 2003 due to armed conflicts and terror operations[. Such handling is done] based on DNA traces of the missing persons. During the meeting, prospects of signing a cooperation agreement between Iraq and the ICMP were discussed, [and] both [the] [M]inistries of [H]uman [R]ights and [F]oreign [A]ffairs approved such signature to make use of the organization’s services. 
Iraq, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Foreign [M]inister receives the head of [the] Iraq program [of the] ICMP”, Press Release, 8 February 2010.
Iraq
In 2011, Iraq’s Ministry of Human Rights issued a press release entitled “Statement: The [M]inistry of [H]uman [R]ights receives 38 remains from the Iranian side”, which stated:
The [M]inistry of [H]uman Rights had received on Tuesday Feb. 01, 2011 [at the] Shalamja border crossing the remains of 38 Iraqi martyrs that lost their lives during the Iraqi-Iranian war. … Five of the martyrs received were of known identity and [this] shall be duly published after testing and inspection, to be delivered to their families. The names of the known martyrs were published by the [M]inistry in the media … and were not received by their families yet.
It is worth mentioning that the number of remains received from [the] Iranian side had reached 249, some of them of known and [some of] unknown identities[,] while 52 Iranian remains were handed over to the Iranian side from 2003 until this date[.] 
Iraq, Ministry of Human Rights, “Statement: The [M]inistry of [H]uman [R]ights receives 38 remains from the Iranian side”, Press Release, 2 February 2011.
Iraq
In 2011, Iraq’s Ministry of Human Rights issued a press release entitled “T[h]e Minister of Human [R]ights meets the head of the ICRC and discusses … the file of missing Kuwaitis”, which stated:
[T]he [M]inister [of Human Rights] expressed [the] gratitude of the [R]epublic of Iraq to the ICRC for its efforts in Iraq and his wishes for the continuation of such cooperation …
The [M]inister also expressed his hope to obtain support in the file of missing Kuwaitis that Iraq looks forward to finaliz[ing, it] being a humanitarian commitment before being a legal one, as the new Iraq is working hard with all possible means to apply humanitarian standards in all its activities. … The [M]inister said that he expressed to the [G]overnment of Kuwait his keenness to finalize this file once and for all. 
Iraq, Ministry of Human Rights, “T[h]e Minister of Human [R]ights meets the head of the ICRC and discusses … the file of missing Kuwaitis”, Press Release, 3 March 2011.
Iraq
In 2011, Iraq’s Ministry of Human Rights issued a press release entitled “The [M]inistry of Human [R]ights signs an MOU with the ICRC”, which stated:
[T]he [M]inister of [H]uman [R]ights said that the aim of [the] signing of this MOU is to strengthen the capacity of t[h]e Zubair center in Basrah to enhance the process of dealing with the remains of martyrs and to develop technologies required to preserve such remains.
He added that the history of cooperation between Iraq and the ICRC [goes] back to 1980[,] stating that it is imperative that Iraq is working to continue with such cooperation through provision of technologies and equipment and preparations of t[he] [M]inistry to deal with missing Iraqis[’] and Iranian[s’] files.
He indicated that such preparations require the readiness of [the] Zubair [C]enter in the fi[el]d of identifying the remains through DNA testing and preparing the center to receive such remains, expressing his hope that the ICRC would consider Iraq’s positive response regarding the Kuwaiti and Iranian files and the future efforts in this course. He expressed the [M]insitry[’s] readiness to deal with any piece of information from the American or Kuwaiti sides regarding this issue in addition to [the] [M]inistry’s own efforts. 
Iraq, Ministry of Human Rights, “The [M]inistry of Human [R]ights signs an MOU with the ICRC”, Press Release, 13 March 2011, p. 1.
Iraq
In 2011, Iraq’s Ministry of Human Rights issued a press release entitled “The Min[is]try of Human Rights hands over remains [from the] Iraq-Iran war to the Iranian sid[e]”, which stated:
The Iraqi side, represented by the [M]inistry of [H]uman [R]ights, handed over to Iran the remains of 17 Iranians [on] April 04, 2011 through [the] Al-Shalamja border crossing. … It is worth mentioning that Iran handed over to Iraq 38 remains of Iraqi martyrs, 6 of which were of known identity and [whose] names were published in local media.
The exchange of remains process between the two sides shall continue as soon as such remains are found[,] according to the two MOUs signed by Iraq[,] represented by the Ministry of Human Rights[,] and Iran, in coordi[n]ation with the ICRC. 
Iraq, Ministry of Human Rights, “The Min[is]try of Human Rights hands over remains [from the] Iraq-Iran war to the Iranian sid[e]”, Press Release, 4 April 2011.
Iraq
In 2011, Iraq’s Ministry of Human Rights issued a press release entitled “The Minister of Human Rights discusses with the ICRC a proposal related to detention institutions”, which stated:
[T]he Minister of Human Rights had discussed with … the head of [the] ICRC delegation to Iraq the excavations taking place in Fao city and the search for the remains of Iranians [gone] missing during the first [G]ulf war and the possibility of involving the Iranian side which offered its cooperation in this field. 
Iraq, Ministry of Human Rights, “The Minister of Human Rights discusses with the ICRC a proposal related to detention institutions”, Press Release, 19 December 2011.
Iraq
In 2012, Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a press release entitled “Foreign Minister meets UNICEF representatives and chief of ICRC mission in Iraq”, which stated:
The Foreign [M]inister also met with … [t]he head of [the] ICRC delegation to Iraq … Exploration for the remains of missing Iraqi and Iranian LIAs [persons lost in action] in [the] Fao and Majnoun areas, and the work[] of the Iraqi-Iranian-ICRC [tripartite] committee were also discussed.
The [M]inister also demonstrated the results of Iraqi-Kuwaiti discussions during the work[] of the second session of the [H]igh [M]inisterial [C]ommittee, mainly the humanitarian file, assuring the Iraqi-Kuwaiti cooperation is continuing in search of Kuwaiti missing persons and properties, adding that this issue was discussed in detail and several recommendations were put forward to continue the search and turn[] the issue into a bilateral issue under the supervision of the ICRC o[r] UNAMI [UN Assistance Mission for Iraq] if required. 
Iraq, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “Foreign Minister meets UNICEF representatives and chief of ICRC mission in Iraq”, Press Release, 6 May 2012.
Iraq
In 2012, Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a press release concerning the file on the missing, which stated:
The technical committee [created] to discu[ss] [the issue of] missing Iraqis and Kuwaitis had held its 76th meeting in Kuwait [on] 16-19 of September 2012 [in] the presence of all committee members (Iraq, Kuwait, the US, the UK, and France) under the supervision of the ICRC, which chaired the meeting. The activities of the [Iraqi] Human Rights [M]inistry were discussed, mainly th[o]se related to excavation and exploration in proposed burial locations of Kuwaiti missing citizens, and preparations for excavating in new burial locations in [the] Al-Khamisiyah area in Dhi Qar province. The meeting also discussed the necessity of contacting Iraqi witnesses in[side] and out[side] of Iraq who have information of missing Kuwaitis, and [of] making use of updated technologies like aerial photography and GPR devices in [the] exploration of burial sites, demanding member countries (US, UK, and France) to provide expertise and training in the field. During the meeting, [it was] stress[ed] that [the] ICRC shall provide [the] most updated information adopted in forensic medicine and analysis of information, and [the] Kuwaiti side [was asked] to explore new areas where potential Iraqi missing persons might be buried.  
Iraq, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “The File on the Missing”, Press Release, 1 October 2012.
Italy
In 1995, during a debate in the UN Security Council, Italy supported a resolution aimed at granting representatives of UNHCR, the ICRC and other international agencies unconditional access to persons reported missing. 
Italy, Statement before the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/PV.3612, 21 December 1995, p. 14.
Nepal
In 2004, in a declaration of commitment on the implementation of human rights and international humanitarian law, the Prime Minister of Nepal stated: “HMG [His Majesty’s Government] assures full cooperation to establish the fate and whereabouts of reported missing persons. HMG will continue to provide cooperation to the ICRC, including the access to all places of detention.” 
Nepal, Declaration of commitment on the implementation of human rights and international humanitarian law, 26 March 2004, § 22.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 1995, during a debate in the UN Security Council, the United Kingdom stated that it was essential that the ICRC be given full access to those missing from Srebrenica and elsewhere and urged the Bosnian Serb party to comply with its obligations in this respect. 
United Kingdom, Statement before the UN Security Council, UN Doc. S/PV.3612, 21 December 1995, pp. 8–9.
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
In 2004, in a written answer to a question concerning civilian fatalities in Iraq, the UK Minister of State for Defence stated:
UK forces inform the International Committee of the Red Cross of all confirmed civilian fatalities of which they are aware have been caused, or allegedly caused, by UK forces. The ICRC then endeavours to inform the relatives as soon as practicable. 
United Kingdom, House of Commons, Written answer by the Minister of State for Defence, Hansard, 12 January 2004, Vol. 416, Written Answers, col. 537W.
UN Security Council
In a resolution adopted in 1995 on violations of IHL in the former Yugoslavia, the UN Security Council:
Reiterating its strong support for the efforts of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in seeking access to … persons … reported missing and condemning in the strongest possible terms the failure of the Bosnian Serb party to comply with their commitments in respect of such access,
2. Reaffirms its demand that the Bosnian Serb party give immediate and unimpeded access to representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the ICRC and other international agencies to persons … reported missing. 
UN Security Council, Res. 1019, 9 November 1995, preamble and § 2, voting record: 15-0-0.
UN Security Council
In a resolution adopted in 1995 on violations of IHL and of human rights in the former Yugoslavia, the UN Security Council:
Reiterates its strong support for the efforts of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in seeking access to … persons … reported missing and calls on all parties to comply with their commitments in respect of such access. 
UN Security Council, Res. 1034, 21 December 1995, § 4, voting record: 15-0-0.
UN Security Council
In a resolution adopted in 2005 on the situation in Western Sahara, the UN Security Council called upon Morocco and the Polisario Front “to continue to cooperate with the International Committee of the Red Cross to resolve the fate of persons who are unaccounted for since the beginning of the conflict”. 
UN Security Council, Res. 1598, 28 April 2005, preamble, voting record: 15-0-0.
UN Security Council
In a resolution adopted in 2005 on the situation in Western Sahara, the UN Security Council called upon the parties “to continue to cooperate with the International Committee of the Red Cross to resolve the fate of persons who are unaccounted for since the beginning of the conflict”. 
UN Security Council, Res. 1634, 28 October 2005, preamble, voting record: 15-0-0.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1994 on the situation of human rights in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), the UN General Assembly:
Urges all parties to the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, and in particular in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) to cooperate with the “Special Process” on Missing Persons in the Territory of the former Yugoslavia … in determining the fate of thousands of missing persons by disclosing information and documentation on inmates in prisons, camps and other places of detention in order to finally locate such persons and alleviate the suffering of their relatives. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 49/196, 23 December 1994, § 25, voting record: 150-0-14-21.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1995 on the situation of human rights in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), the UN General Assembly:
Dismayed by the huge number of missing persons still unaccounted for, particularly in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Croatia,
22. Urges all parties, and in particular the Government of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), to cooperate with the “special process” dealing with the problem of missing persons in the territory of the former Yugoslavia … by disclosing information and documentation on inmates in prisons, camps and other places of detention;
28. Notes with concern that many of the past recommendations of the Special Rapporteur have not been fully implemented, in some cases because of resistance by the parties on the ground, and urges the parties, all States and relevant organizations to give immediate consideration to them, in particular the calls of the former and the current Special Rapporteurs:
(a) For the de facto Bosnian Serb authorities to provide prompt access for monitors to territories controlled by them, in particular to the Banja Luka region and to Srebrenica, emphasizing that the fate of thousands of missing persons from Srebrenica requires immediate clarification. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 50/193, 22 December 1995, preamble and §§ 22 and 28(a), voting record: 144-1-20-20.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 1999 on the situation of human rights in Kosovo, the UN General Assembly encouraged the ICRC “to pursue its clarification efforts in regard [to the high number of missing persons from Kosovo], in cooperation with other organizations such as the OSCE”. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 54/183, 17 December 1999, § 18, voting record: 108-4-45-31.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2003 on the question of Western Sahara, the UN General Assembly:
Calls upon the parties to cooperate with the International Committee of the Red Cross in its efforts to solve the problem of the fate of the people unaccounted for, and calls upon the parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law to release without further delay all those held since the start of the conflict. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 58/109, 9 December 2003, § 7, adopted without a vote.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2004 on the question of Western Sahara, the UN General Assembly:
Calls upon the parties to cooperate with the International Committee of the Red Cross in its efforts to solve the problem of the fate of the people unaccounted for, and calls upon the parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law to release without further delay all those held since the start of the conflict. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 59/131, 10 December 2004, § 7, voting record: 50-0-100-41.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2004 on missing persons, the UN General Assembly:
7. Invites States which are parties to an armed conflict to cooperate fully with the International Committee of the Red Cross in establishing the fate of missing persons and to adopt a comprehensive approach to this issue, including all practical and coordination mechanisms that may be necessary, based on humanitarian considerations only;
8. Urges States and encourages intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to take all necessary measures at the national, regional and international levels to address the problem of persons reported missing in connection with armed conflicts and to provide appropriate assistance as requested by the States concerned. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 59/189, 20 December 2004, §§ 7–8, adopted without a vote.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2005 on the question of Western Sahara, the UN General Assembly:
Calls upon the parties to cooperate with the International Committee of the Red Cross in its efforts to solve the problem of the fate of the people unaccounted for, and calls upon the parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law to release without further delay all those held since the start of the conflict. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 60/114, 8 December 2005, § 8, adopted without a vote.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2006 on the question of Western Sahara, the UN General Assembly:
Calls upon the parties to cooperate with the International Committee of the Red Cross in its efforts to solve the problem of the fate of the people unaccounted for, and calls upon the parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law to release without further delay all those held since the start of the conflict.  
UN General Assembly, Res. 61/125, 14 December 2006, § 8, voting record: 70-0-91-31.
UN General Assembly
In a resolution adopted in 2006 on missing persons, the UN General Assembly:
6. Recognizes, in this regard, the need for the collection, protection and management of data on missing persons according to international and national legal norms and standards, and urges States to cooperate with each other and with other concerned actors working in this area, inter alia, by providing all relevant and appropriate information related to missing persons;
8. Invites States that are parties to an armed conflict to cooperate fully with the International Committee of the Red Cross in establishing the fate of missing persons and to adopt a comprehensive approach to this issue, including all practical and coordination mechanisms as may be necessary, based on humanitarian considerations only;
9. Urges States and encourages intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to take all necessary measures at the national, regional and international levels to address the problem of persons reported missing in connection with armed conflicts and to provide appropriate assistance as requested by the concerned States, and welcomes, in this regard, the establishment and efforts of commissions and working groups on missing persons. 
UN General Assembly, Res. 61/155, 19 December 2006, §§ 6 and 8–9, adopted without a vote.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 1994 on the situation of human rights in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, the UN Commission on Human Rights urged all the parties “to cooperate in determining the fate of thousands of missing persons”. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 1994/72, 9 March 1994, § 23, adopted without a vote.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 1995 on the special process dealing with the problem of missing persons in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, the UN Commission on Human Rights urged all the parties “to cooperate by disclosing all relevant available information and documentation in order to determine the fate of the thousands of missing persons”. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 1995/35, 3 March 1995, § 3, adopted without a vote.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 1995, the UN Commission on Human Rights asked for the cooperation of the parties to the conflict in Afghanistan in the tracing of the many persons reported missing as a result of the war. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 1995/74, 8 March 1995, §§ 7–8, adopted without a vote.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 1996 on the situation of human rights in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), the UN Commission on Human Rights welcomed “the report of the expert member of the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances on the special process on missing persons in the territory of the former Yugoslavia”. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 1996/71, 23 April 1996, preamble, adopted without a vote.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution on missing persons adopted in 2002, the UN Commission on Human Rights:
6. Invites States which are parties to an armed conflict to cooperate fully with the International Committee of the Red Cross in establishing the fate of missing persons and to adopt a comprehensive approach to this issue, including all practical and coordination mechanisms as may be necessary, based on humanitarian considerations only;
7. Urges States and encourages intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to take all necessary measures at the national, regional and international levels to address the problem of persons reported missing in connection with armed conflicts and to provide appropriate assistance as requested by the concerned States. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2002/60, 25 April 2002, §§ 6–7, adopted without a vote.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 2003 on the question of Western Sahara, the UN Commission on Human Rights called upon “the parties to cooperate with the International Committee of the Red Cross in its efforts to solve the problem of the fate of people unaccounted for”. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2003/1, 14 April 2003, § 11, adopted without a vote.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 2004 on the question of Western Sahara, the UN Commission on Human Rights called upon “the parties to cooperate with the International Committee of the Red Cross in its efforts to solve the problem of the fate of people unaccounted for”. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2004/4, 8 April 2004, § 7, adopted without a vote.
UN Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 2004 on missing persons, the UN Commission on Human Rights:
7. Invites States which are parties to an armed conflict to cooperate fully with the International Committee of the Red Cross in establishing the fate of missing persons and to adopt a comprehensive approach to this issue, including all practical and coordination mechanisms as may be necessary, based on humanitarian considerations only;
8. Urges States and encourages intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations to take all necessary measures at the national, regional and international levels to address the problem of persons reported missing in connection with armed conflicts and to provide appropriate assistance as requested by the concerned States. 
UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2004/50, 20 April 2004, §§ 7–8, voting record: 52-0-1.
UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights
In a resolution adopted in 1985 on Guatemala, the UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights requested that the government allow international humanitarian organizations, in particular the ICRC, to investigate the fate of the disappeared. 
UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights, Res. 1985/28, 30 August 1985, § 4.
High Representative for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina
In March 1996, the High Representative for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina reported that, following consultation with the parties, a Working Group on Missing Persons chaired by the ICRC had been established. He also reported that a Working Group on Missing Persons and Exhumation had been created in conjunction with several UN agencies. 
High Representative for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina, Report, UN Doc. S/1996/190, 14 March 1996, Annex, §§ 75–76.
In July 1996, the High Representative reported that considerable efforts had been made by relevant national authorities and international mechanisms, notably by the Expert Group on Missing Persons and Exhumation, the UN Special Rapporteurs on the former Yugoslavia and on missing persons and the Working Group on Persons Unaccounted For, towards establishing the fate of missing persons and the location of mass grave sites. 
High Representative for the Implementation of the Peace Agreement on Bosnia and Herzegovina, Report, UN Doc. S/1996/542, 10 July 1996, Annex, § 41.
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
In 1981, in its consideration of a report on refugees from El Salvador presented by the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly noted that one of the main activities of the ICRC in El Salvador was tracing missing persons, with its Central Tracing Agency bureau acting as an intermediary between persons arrested or missing and their families. 
Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly, Working Document, Report on Refugees in El Salvador, Doc. 4698, 7 April 1981, p. 10.
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
In a resolution on the situation in Cyprus adopted in 1984, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly welcomed the continued consideration of the issue of missing persons on both sides in the context of the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus and urged the parties to continue their deliberations. 
Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly, Res. 816, 21 March 1984, p. 117, § 12.
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
In a recommendation adopted in 1996 on refugees, displaced persons and reconstruction in certain countries of the former Yugoslavia, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly invited member States to give support to the ICRC in the implementation of the tasks conferred upon it under the 1995 Dayton Accords, namely to clarify the fate of missing persons. 
Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly, Rec. 1287, 24 January 1996, p. 5, § viii(d).
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
In an opinion adopted in 1996 on Croatia’s request for membership of the Council of Europe, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly expressed its expectation that Croatia would cooperate with international humanitarian organizations and take all necessary steps to solve several ongoing humanitarian problems, notably in connection with missing persons. 
Council of Europe, Parliamentary Assembly, Opinion No. 195 (1996) on Croatia’s request for membership of the Council of Europe, Human rights information sheet No. 38, April 1996, p. 110, § 10(ii).
European Parliament
In a resolution adopted in 1983 on the problem of missing persons in Cyprus, the European Parliament urged the ICRC to provide all assistance necessary for the speedy and effective completion of the investigations. 
European Parliament, Resolution on the problem of missing persons in Cyprus, 11 January 1983, § 2.
European Parliament
In a resolution adopted in 1988 on the situation in Cyprus, the European Parliament suggested that the Foreign Ministers meeting in Council should endeavour to obtain an agreement from all of the parties involved to call on the ICRC to carry out independent searches whenever it was felt that relevant facts could be uncovered. 
European Parliament, Resolution on the situation in Cyprus, 27 June 1988, §§ 7–8.
International Conference of the Red Cross (1973)
The 22nd International Conference of the Red Cross in 1973 adopted a resolution on the missing and dead in armed conflicts in which it called on parties to armed conflicts:
to co-operate with Protecting Powers, with the ICRC and its Central Tracing Agency, and with such other appropriate bodies as may be established for this purpose, and in particular National Red Cross Societies, to accomplish the humanitarian mission of accounting for the dead and missing, including those belonging to third countries not parties to the armed conflict. 
22nd International Conference of the Red Cross, Teheran, 8–15 November 1973, Res. V.
International Conference of the Red Cross (1986)
The 25th International Conference of the Red Cross in 1986 adopted a resolution on cooperation between National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and governments in reuniting dispersed families. The resolution reaffirmed the constant willingness of National Societies to “co-operate in humanitarian action, in reuniting members of dispersed families, in exchanging information regarding families and in facilitating the search for missing persons” and called upon governments to support the efforts of National Societies “dealing with the problems of conducting searches and reuniting families”. 
25th International Conference of the Red Cross, Geneva, 23–31 October 1986, Res. XV, §§ 1 and 2.
Peace Implementation Conference for Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Conclusions of the London Peace Implementation Conference for Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1995 state that fulfilment of the 1995 Dayton Accords will require “full cooperation of the parties over … the provision of information about the fate of persons unaccounted for”. 
Peace Implementation Conference for Bosnia and Herzegovina, London, 8–9 December 1995, Conclusions, annexed to Letter dated 11 December 1995 from the United Kingdom to the UN Secretary-General, UN Doc. S/1995/1029, 12 December 1995, § 25.
No data.
ICRC
In 1980, in the context of the conflict in Lebanon, the ICRC undertook to search for missing persons. 
ICRC, Annual Report 1980, Geneva, 1981, p. 60.
ICRC
Following the Gulf War in 1991, a Tripartite Commission was established under ICRC auspices to trace people reported missing. The Commission is made up of representatives of Iraq, on the one hand, and of France, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and the United States, on the other.
ICRC
In a joint declaration with UNICEF and UNHCR in 1994, the ICRC and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies reaffirmed the need to do everything possible to ensure the survival and protection of unaccompanied children, trace their families and facilitate family reunification. 
ICRC, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, UNHCR and UNICEF, Joint declaration on family reunification, 27 June 1994.
ICRC
In 1996, in a briefing on progress made in investigating violations of international law in certain areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights noted that a Working Group chaired by the ICRC had been set up to implement a process for the tracing of missing persons, in which the three parties to the conflict also participated. As agreed in the 1995 Dayton Accords, the ICRC was to be fully involved in the question of missing persons and to collect information from families. The ICRC relied on its own extensive network of offices and local branches throughout the former Yugoslavia. In June 1996, it also implemented a new step in its tracing procedure by launching a public campaign calling for people to come forward with any information they might have. The Expert Group on Missing Persons and Exhumations was said to seek to coordinate procedures on exhumations among the concerned international authorities. The briefing also stated that international agencies and authorities indicated that they generally had no problems with immediate and unimpeded access to areas throughout the country in pursuit of their mandated activities. 
Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Briefing on Progress Reached in Investigation of Violations of International Law in the areas of Srebrenica, Žepa, Banja Luka and Sanski Most pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1034 (1995), 22 August 1996, §§ 12–13, p. 20.
Hezb-i-Islami
In 1988, the Hezb-i-Islami faction in Afghanistan advised its fighters to give all possible assistance to the ICRC in its efforts to trace missing persons. 
Hezb-i-Islami, Monthly Bulletin, Communiqué on International Humanitarian Law, October 1988.