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Red Cross Identifies Bodies of 23 People Missing after Armed Conflicts

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, March 14
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reports that they have identified the bodies of 23 people who went missing during 1990 and 2008 armed conflicts.

The organization says that the family members of these 23 people were informed that their missing relatives were positively identified using a multidisciplinary approach drawing on the forensic expertise of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The ICRC organized a group and individual meetings with the families’ representatives to share with them the news and provide all the information related to the steps that led to clarify the fate and whereabouts of their missing relatives.

Also, the families also received psychological support to deal with the emotional turmoil they had faced due to the disappearances.

“It is rewarding for us as an institution to see the concrete result of our work and how it helps the families in getting answers about their missing relatives. Our efforts have helped end decades of ambiguity for 23 more Georgian, Abkhaz and South Ossetian families,” said Nicolas Fleury, an ICRC coordinator of operations.

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

Since 2013, remains of up to 500 persons have been recovered, out of which around 200 have been identified and handed over to their families.

Around 2,300 people, including military and civilians, are still missing after the conflicts of the 1990s and August 2008.

The war in Georgia’s breakaway region Abkhazia in 1992-1993 was distinguished with severity. The Abkhaz separatist forces, Russian military forces stationed in and near Abkhazia, and North Caucasian militants fought against the Georgian government. The separatists also received support from Cossack militants hired by the Russian side.

Between 13,000 to 20,000 ethnic Georgians and approximately 3,000 ethnic Abkhaz have been reported killed, more than 250,000 ethnic Georgians became internally displaced or refugees and about 2,000 are considered missing. Among them, about 1,500 are ethnic Georgians, up to 200 are ethnic Abkhazians and about 100 are ethnic Ossetians.

As for the August five-day war of 2008, which left Georgia’s South Ossetia and Abkhazia regions occupied by Russia, and resulted in around 170 servicemen, 14 policemen, and 228 civilians from Georgia losing their lives with a further 1,747 wounded.

The August war displaced 192,000 people in Georgia. Many were able to return to their homes after the war but around 20,270 people still remain displaced.