Remains of 14 people identified in connection with the 1992-1993 armed conflict in Abkhazia

Remains of 14 people identified in connection with the 1992-1993 armed conflict in Abkhazia

Geneva (ICRC) – The family members of 14 people who were unaccounted for in connection with the armed conflict of 1992-1993 in Abkhazia were informed that their loved ones were positively identified with the assistance of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Article 22 April 2021 Georgia Russia

The remains of these 14 individuals – 13 Georgian and 1 Abkhaz - were recovered during excavations carried out under the lead of the ICRC in 2017-2019 in Sukhum/i, Ochamchira/e, Gulripsh/i, Gagra.

The remains were recovered within the framework of the Coordination Mechanism on Persons Unaccounted for in Connection with the Events of 1992-1993 Armed Conflict and After, which has operated under the auspices of the ICRC since 2010 and involves both Abkhaz and Georgian participants. The Mechanism is of a purely humanitarian nature and acts on behalf of the families of missing persons.

Handover of the remains to the families and funeral ceremonies will take place in the near future.

"Dealing with missing persons worldwide, the ICRC knows that the suffering of families grows with time," said Daniel Mac Sweeney, the ICRC Envoy on Missing Persons in the Caucasus. "Resolving cases, identifying remains and returning them to their families can help to ease the pain of families, who remain deeply impacted by the absence of their loved ones and the lack of clarity. It also helps society to heal the deep wounds related to conflict."

The recent appointment of the Envoy – a first for the ICRC – shows how important it is to the ICRC to find missing persons and to help their families. The first objective of the Envoy is to work with the sides to the conflicts in the 1990s and 2008 to find a new way forward together to account for the people still missing that is more sustainable and effective over the long term than the current mechanisms. More than 90% of the people reported missing remain unaccounted for. In the longer term, the Envoy intends to bring lessons learned and good practices from the two Coordination Mechanisms to the search for missing persons in connection with other armed conflicts the Caucasus, such as in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Since the inception of the two coordination mechanisms in 2010 (one working in connection with the 1992-93 armed conflict in Abkhazia and the other one – with the conflicts of 90ies and 2008 of South Ossetia), remains of up to 583 persons have been recovered under their auspices, out of which 206 have been identified and 192 have been handed over to their families. In total, 2,355 people, including military and civilians, are still reported as missing in connection with the armed conflicts of 1990s and August 2008. The work continues to clarify the fate and whereabouts of other missing persons from the conflicts.

For further information, please contact:

Sophio Elizbarashvili, ICRC Tbilisi, tel: +995 599 50 14 64

Boris Kazanba, ICRC Sukhum/i, tel: +7 940 921 53 73