News release

Searching for missing persons in connection with 1990s and August 2008 conflicts

Geneva (ICRC) – The 16th meeting of the Coordination Mechanism seeking to clarify the fate and whereabouts of people missing in relation to 1990s and August 2008 armed conflicts took place today, 16 September in Ergneti. The Coordination Mechanism was established under the auspices and with the technical expertise of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in 2010, in its role as a neutral intermediary, and brings together Georgian, South Ossetian and Russian participants in a purely humanitarian platform of exchange.

The discussions included an update on the progress made since the last meeting of the Coordination Mechanism in October 2020 and further efforts needed to clarify the fate of the 122 persons who remain missing in relation to the armed conflicts.

For the first time, the meeting was chaired by Daniel Mac Sweeney, the ICRC Envoy on Missing Persons in the Caucasus, who was appointed to the position in February 2021.

"My main goal is to support the ongoing work to clarify the fate and whereabouts of the people that remain unaccounted for. This can be achieved by cooperating with the sides to the conflicts to find a new way of working together that is more effective and sustainable than today". – said Mr. Mac Sweeney. "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.

The strictly humanitarian dialogue between the participants and their continued joint engagement within the Coordination Mechanism remains critical to providing answers to the families, relieving them finally from their incertitude. Beyond dialogue, the ICRC would like to see a greater engagement of sides in the process of search in the process of search and identification as well as support to the families, to make it more efficient and sustainable. Beyond 2021, the sides should progressively take over many of the tasks currently done by the ICRC".

According to International Humanitarian Law, the families of those who have gone missing have the right to know what happened to them.

For further information, please contact:
Sophio Elizbarashvili, ICRC Tbilisi, tel: +995 599 50 14 64
Marina Tedeti, ICRC Tskhinval/i +79298098765