International Committee of the Red Cross

Georgia: A bittersweet moment as families receive the remains of missing relatives

Photo gallery 10 March 2017

The armed conflict in Abkhazia in 1992 – 93 caused the disappearance of 2,373 people. Over 20 years later, families continue to seek answers about the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones. To address this issue, the ICRC is leading painstaking work to search for, exhume, analyse and support the identification of human remains. The result? On 14 September 2016, the remains of 17 people were handed over to their families in Tbilisi. They had been exhumed in 2015, 2014 and 2011 in different locations of Georgia/Abkhazia. And this was the third such handover in 2016.

Back in 2010 the ICRC set up the Coordination Mechanism to clarify, on strictly humanitarian grounds, the fate and whereabouts of people whose disappearance is linked to the conflict. Thanks to the Mechanism, which comprises Georgian and Abkhaz participants and is chaired by the ICRC, work began in 2013 to exhume and analyse human remains. So far it has helped identify the remains of 99 people, including 39 in 2016.