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Abkhazia remembering fellow-countrymen missing since war with Georgia

August 30, 2015, 22:54 UTC+3 SUKHUM
The plight of more than 150 fighters of Abkhazian armed units and peaceful civilians is still unknown even more than twenty years
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© ITAR-TASS/Vladimir Popov/Archive

SUKHUM, August 30. /TASS/. People in Abkhazia are remembering their fellow-countrymen who went missing during the Georgian-Abkhazian war of 1992-1993.

Members of the public movement called Abkhazian Mothers for Peace and Social Justice, relatives of the missing, veterans, and public activists came to the Memorial to the Fallen Fighters in Sukhum’s Park of Glory on Sunday to lay flowers.

At 20:00 hours local time, candles were lit on the embankment opposite the Sukhum Drama Theater where a fountain in memory of the missing was installed four years ago.

Abkhazia has an immediate relationship to the International Day of the Disappeared, which is marked on August 30. The plight of more than 150 fighters of Abkhazian armed units and peaceful civilians is still unknown even more than twenty years after the end of hostilities.

Until 2013, nothing was known about practically all the persons who disappeared during the war. Their family members and friends would come to the Park of Glory and lay flowers at the tombs of unknown soldiers where 43 unidentified bodies had been buried.

"Thanks to support from the International Committee of the Red Cross, the fate of 36 fighters is known today," a spokesperson for the Abkhazian government’s commission for the missing told TASS. "They turned out to be among the 43 individuals, whose remains were exhumed in the Park of Glory in June 2013."

"The identities of seven individuals were established in December 2013, fourteen others in February, June and December 2014 and fifteen more, in May 2015," he said. "Most of them died in the course of the March and July, 1993, operations to free Sukhum from the troops, which reported to the Georgian State Council.

The identification became possible thanks to the special procedures held under the auspices of the International Red Cross in a laboratory in Zagreb.

The problem of a search for the missing is one of the items discussed at the Geneva consultations on security and stability in South Caucasus that involve Georgia, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and the UN.

In 2013, Georgia and Abkhazia launched a Coordination Mechanism to Find Possible Burial Places of the Missing. These efforts draw on support from the Red Cross.

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