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Georgia: remains handed over under ICRC auspices

03-05-2011 News Release 11/105

Tbilisi (ICRC) – The remains of a person who went missing in connection with the August 2008 hostilities were handed over to the family today by the Georgian authorities under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The mortal remains were exhumed in April in Tskhinvali/Tskhinval. The handover took place after they were positively identified by means of a full skeletal analysis and genetic testing carried out by the Georgian National Forensic Bureau in Tbilisi with the participation of an ICRC forensic expert. Georgian officials and an ICRC psychologist were in attendance as the remains were placed in the care of the family.

"It was a very delicate and emotional moment. The family told me that they did not believe this day would ever come. They said that despite the tragic circumstances they were happy to be able to bury their loved one properly, in accordance with religious rituals, and to have the possibility to visit the grave," said Eva Puhar, an ICRC delegate working on issues of missing people. "This is the first case of remains being identified in connection with the August 2008 hostilities, and we hope that there will be more in the future."

The process of exhumation and identification is taking place within the framework of a coordination mechanism with Georgian, Russian and South Ossetian participants created under ICRC auspices in February 2010 to facilitate the exchange of information likely to shed light on the fate of people unaccounted for during and after the August 2008 hostilities.

In accordance with its mandate, the ICRC serves as a neutral intermediary in connection with the exhumation, transfer, identification and handover of mortal remains.

For further information, please contact:
Maia Kardava, ICRC Tbilisi, tel: +995 91 600 685

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