Yerevan (ICRC) – The coordination mechanism comprising Georgian and Abkhaz participants that is seeking to account for 2,258 people who went missing in connection with the 1992-93 armed conflict in Abkhazia and its aftermath held a meeting today, on December 4, in Yerevan. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) chaired the meeting in its capacity as a neutral intermediary.
"Since the establishment of the coordination mechanism, the mortal remains of 431 people have been found and exhumed, out of which 148 were identified and handed over to their families for a dignified burial," said Nicolas Fleury, the ICRC operations coordinator for Europe and Central Asia, who chaired the meeting.
"We are finalizing the identification of mortal remains of more individuals. In early 2019, our sustained efforts will enable more families to receive an answer on the fate of their loved ones, after years of unbearable waiting. Such progress is possible thanks to the relentless commitment of all the participants to this strictly humanitarian process, along with the increased involvement of local experts whose forensic skills and knowhow are being built in line with international standards."
Besides an update on the progress made in 2018 in clarifying the whereabouts of the people missing in connection with the conflict of 1992-93, discussions in Yerevan also underlined the urge to search for information on possible burial places and the ongoing challenges related to the identification process. The participants agreed on practical steps to increase the efforts on the collection and exchange of information required for the process to continue at its best possible pace.
Under international humanitarian law, families have the right to know what happened to their missing loved ones. The coordination mechanism to clarify the fate of people unaccounted for during the conflict of 1992-93 and its aftermath was established in 2010 under the auspices of the ICRC. The ICRC provides support to the mechanism, including with its technical expertise, in its capacity as a neutral humanitarian organization.
For further information, please contact:
Maia Kardava, ICRC Tbilisi, tel.: +995 5 99 55 88 18
Boris Kazanba, ICRC Sukhum/i, tel.: +79409215373