In 1992, the International Commission on Missing Persons was established to confront the issue of persons missing as a result of the different conflicts relevant to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia, and the then Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from 1991 to 1995. By creating a DNA database of survivors of the various wars and comparing those profiles with the DNA profiles developed from the remains of bodies found in mass graves, the ICMP was able to—and still does—provide important closure for families who suffered such terrible losses. That closure has been a critical aspect of the healing process for those counties affected.
Just as the ICMP provided national healing after the conflicts in the Balkans, a similar database could be developed from volunteers who lost family members by death and separation during the Rwandan genocide. The hundreds of thousands of children orphaned by the genocide may have surviving family members elsewhere in the country. By comparing the profiles of Rwanda’s “street children” to those volunteers who lost children and don’t know where or how to find them, a DNA database may begin the process of bringing families, and a country, back together.