Practice Relating to Rule 117. Accounting for Missing Persons
Section A. Search for missing persons
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.
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 [C]enter 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]inistry[’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.
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.
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.