36 graves to be opened in occupied Abkhazia this year to identify victims of armed conflict of 1992-93

More than 120 graves have been opened since 2014 to identify the victims of the war in the occupied Abkhazia in 1992-1993. Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge.

Agenda.ge, 11 Apr 2019 - 13:04, Tbilisi,Georgia

Thirty-six graves are planned to be opened in Georgia’s occupied Abkhazia region, in western Georgia this year to take DNA samples and try to identify the individuals.

If remains are identified, they will be handed over to their families 26-27 years after the war.

The statement came after the most recent meeting of the Georgian-Abkhaz Coordinative Mechanism in Istanbul yesterday, where the members of the central Georgian government and the de facto leadership of Abkhazia discussed the issue of missing people.

The meeting was facilitated by the international humanitarian aid group International Committee of the Red Cross.

129 graves have been opened so far and 431 remains were exhumed. 163 remains were identified and handed to their families,” Georgian Minister for Reconciliation and Civil Equality Ketevan Tsikhelashvili said.

Authorities began to excavate the graves in May 2014 following lengthy negotiations between Tbilisi and Sokhumi.

The Red Cross helped facilitate cooperation between de-facto Abkhaz authorities and Georgian officials.

  • The War in Abkhazia from 1992 to 1993 was fought between Georgian government forces for the most part, and Abkhaz separatist forces, Russian armed forces and North Caucasian militants. The separatists received support from thousands of North Caucasus and Cossack militants and from the Russian forces stationed in and near Abkhazia.
  • Between 13,000 to 20,000 ethnic Georgians and approximately 3,000 Abkhaz have been reported killed, more than 250,000 Georgians became internally displaced or refugees and about 2,000 are considered missing.
  • Among the missing about 1,500 are ethnic Georgians, up to 200 are ethnic Abkhazians and about 100 are ethnic Ossetians.