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Eastern Europe: people missing in connection with the 2008 hostilities

04-11-2011 News Release 11/228

Geneva (ICRC) - A fifth meeting of the coordination mechanism to clarify the fate of people unaccounted for since the August 2008 hostilities took place on 2 November 2011 under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the village of Dvani, Georgia.

Participants undertook discussions in a conducive atmosphere on further steps to provide the Georgian, Ossetian and Russian families of missing persons with relevant information.

"It's a complicated process, requiring time, effort and patience," said Jean-Philippe Kiehl, an ICRC delegate who was involved in setting up the mechanism. "But today we can say that all participants understand the importance of this process, a process that is centred on the families' right to know the whereabouts of their loved ones. The progress made over the past two years has demonstrated this."

Following the creation of the mechanism in February 2010, one missing person was found alive and the body of another person was exhumed in Tskhinval/Tskhinvali and transferred to Tbilisi, where it was identified and returned to the family. The body of a missing person was exhumed in Tbilisi two weeks ago, and is currently being identified by specialists from the Georgian National Forensic Bureau with the support of the ICRC regional forensic adviser.

Participants exchanged additional information on missing persons at the latest meeting, including revisions to the list of missing persons, which currently comprises 45 names from the 2008 armed conflict. In addition, participants started to work towards clarifying the fate of people missing as a result of the 1989-1992 hostilities.

For further information, please contact:
Maia Kardava, ICRC Tbilisi, tel: +995 91 600 685
Marina Tedeti, ICRC Tskhinval/Tskhinvali, tel: +7929 807 9367
Monique Nanchen, ICRC Moscow, tel: +7 495 626 5426
Vassily Fadeev, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 34 53 or +41 79 536 92 48