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ARGENTINA | 16-08-2021 14:20

Red Cross sends second mission team to identify fallen Argentine soldiers

The Red Cross said Monday it had begun a second phase in its forensic work to identify the remains of Argentine soldiers buried on the disputed Malvinas (Falkland) Islands.

The Red Cross said Monday it had begun a second phase in its forensic work to identify the remains of Argentine soldiers buried on the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Monday it had sent a team of five forensic specialists and another expert to exhume and to investigate the identities of a number of fallen Argentine troops in a common grave at Darwin Cemetery. 

The soldiers died in the 1982 war between Britain and Argentina – a conflict that killed 649 Argentine soldiers, 255 British troops and three islanders.

The bodies of 236 of the Argentine soldiers are buried in Darwin Cemetery on East Falkland, the largest of more than 750 islands that make up the archipelago, known in Spanish as the Islas Malvinas.

The Second Humanitarian Project Plan (HPP 2) follows a 2017-2018 mission that led to the remains of 122 Argentine soldiers being exhumed at the cemetery, with 115 identified by DNA testing.

That mission was the first such project "with a specific joint mandate from two states that had been on opposite sides in an armed conflict", according to the ICRC.

"The main aim of this work is to allow the families to grieve with dignity," ICRC's project manager of HPP 2, Laurent Corbaz, said in a statement. "They have had to endure so many years of uncertainty, so we will do whatever we can to provide them with answers." 

While the first phase focused solely on unmarked graves, the second phase aims to examine the remains buried in grave C.1.10, which carries the names of four fallen Argentine soldiers.

During the first phase, it was determined that three of the four were in fact buried elsewhere in the cemetery, confirming the need to identify the remains in the grave.

The team of specialists will "exhume, analyse, sample and document the remains," ICRC said, stressing that "the dignity of the dead will be ensured throughout the forensic process."

The experts will also probe another area known as ‘Teal Inlet/Caleta Trullo’ to establish whether another unmarked grave is located there.

– TIMES/AFP

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