A forensic study that identified the remains of 88 Argentine soldiers buried in a Malvinas (Falkland) Islands cemetery after the 1982 war with Britain was presented to families of the fallen troops on Tuesday.
Results of the report, which was led by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), were presented to eight families at the headquarters of Argentina’s secretariat for human rights. Eulogia Rodríguez, sister of soldier Macedonio Rodríguez, said the finding ended more than three decades of uncertainty, confirming that her brother is buried at Darwin cemetery on the islands.
“We now know with name and last name that our brother is there,” she said. “This comes from the fulfillment of a duty that the Argentine state had with the soldiers who died in the war of the Malvinas. And obviously, I also have to thank the goodwill of the UK that allowed for this identification.”
The Red Cross has said the identification process of 121 graves was highly successful. But it has yet to specify what will happen to the unidentified bodies. A multinational team of 14 experts exhumed, analysed, sampled and documented the remains over a two-month period that began in June. The remains were collected from graves with the inscription, Soldado Argentino solo conocido por Dios (“Argentine soldier known only to God”).
The samples were analysed and compared with DNA samples from family members of some of the dead soldiers at a laboratory in Argentina. Laboratories in Britain and Spain conducted quality control of the DNA analyses.
In all, the war claimed the lives of 649 Argentines and 255 British soldiers. “I celebrate that both countries have found a meeting point putting the humanitarian before everything else,” said José Luis Aparicio, a veteran of the war, who said he had to bury some of the fallen soldiers after he was captured by the British.
The bodies were later dug out by the British and transported to the cemetery on a lonely hill of the archipelago near Port Darwin. “The families in Darwin will now find a name,” Aparicio said. “Not just an inscription.”