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Clarifying the fate of Georgians, Ossetians and Russians missing in connection with 2008 hostilities

29-04-2010 News Release 10/73

Geneva (ICRC) – A second meeting of the coordination mechanism seeking to clarify the fate of people unaccounted for during and after the August 2008 hostilities took place today under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Participants from Moscow, Tbilisi and Tskhinvali/Tskhinval met in a tent situated between the villages of Okona and Knolevi on the North West of Gori, to discuss concrete and coordinated steps that need to be taken to provide the families of missing persons with relevant information on their loved ones.

" All sides expressed an interest in improving the coordination of forensic activities in order to facilitate the identification of human remains. Compliance with international standards for exhuming and identifying remains was especially emphasized, " said Megan Bassendale, an ICRC forensic adviser, who attended the meeting. " Taking these actions is a priority. Under international humanitarian law, families have the right to know what happened to their missing relatives. "

During the mechanism's first meeting, which took place in Ecogia, Switzerland, on 23 February, preliminary lists of 47 missing persons were shared. In today's meeting, additional information on missing persons and gravesites was exchanged, one new case was added and one case of a missing person was positively resolved.

  For further information, please contact:
  Maia Kardava, ICRC Tbilisi, tel: +995 91 600 685
  Marina Tedeti, ICRC Tskhinvali/Tskhinval, tel: +7 928 230 0583
  Yuriy Shafarenko, ICRC Moscow, tel: +7 495 626 5426
  Christian Cardon, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 79 251 9302