The family members of eight people who went missing in connection with the armed conflict of 1992-1993 in Abkhazia were informed that their loved ones were identified with the assistance of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The remains of these eight individuals were recovered during excavations carried out under the lead of the ICRC in 2017-2019 in various locations in Abkhazia.
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.
It is very symbolic, that the handover day coincides with the day of the icon for the missing - On 8th of December the Georgia Orthodox church celebrates the day of icon ‘Three Joys of St. Mariam’ – the icon that is considered as the Protector of Missing People, blessed by the Patriarch of Georgia back in 2014.
Farewell ceremony is planned for December 9 at Sameba Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi.
“Every time that we inform families about the identification of another group of their loved ones, we think of the over 2,300 people who have remained missing for decades” – says Daniel Mac Sweeney, ICRC Envoy on Missing Persons in the Caucasus. “For their families it is essential to increase the effectiveness and sustainability of the process of search and identification as well as the support to these families. This can only be reached with the greater engagement of all the sides and their concrete investment into developing the required capacities to allow them to progressively take over tasks currently done by the ICRC, from 2022.”
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 with the conflicts of 1990s and 2008 of South Ossetia), remains of 598 persons have been recovered, out of which 219 (including these eight remains) have been identified and have been handed over to their families. In total, 2,343 people, including military and civilians, are still reported as missing in connection with the armed conflicts of 1990s and August 2008.