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Montevideo, August 23rd 2017 - 13:34 UTC

Falklands cemetery combatants identification: Red Cross delegation expected in Buenos Aires

Thursday, May 25th 2017 - 09:50 UTC
Full article 5 comments
The agreement signed in London by Alan Duncan and Villagra Delgado. Standing are ambassadors in London and Buenos Aires, Carlos Sersale and Mark Kent The agreement signed in London by Alan Duncan and Villagra Delgado. Standing are ambassadors in London and Buenos Aires, Carlos Sersale and Mark Kent
The Darwin cemetery in the Falklands holds 237 graves of which 123 are marked, “Argentine solider known only to God”  The Darwin cemetery in the Falklands holds 237 graves of which 123 are marked, “Argentine solider known only to God”

An advance mission from the International Committee of the Red Cross is expected in Buenos Aires next week to iron out details of the DNA process to be implemented for the identification of unknown Argentine combatants buried in the Falkland Islands at the Darwin cemetery. The news was advanced in the Buenos Aires media.

 According to what was agreed last December between Argentina, UK and the humanitarian consent from the Falkland Islands government, the ICRC with forensic experts is scheduled to begin working at Darwin cemetery next June 19, under strict privacy rules, with no media, and with close contacts with the next of kin of those who contributed to a bank of DNA samples.

The remains in the cemetery belong to Argentine soldiers fallen during the 1982 conflict when Argentina military invaded the Falkland Islands.

The Red Cross delegation is led by the head of the DNA identification project, Laurent Corbaz, the chief of the Red Cross regional committee for Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, Lorenzo Caraffi and the head of the ICRC mission in Buenos Aires, Diego Alonso Rojas Coronel. The task in the Falklands, according to the report, will have six representatives, two ICRC, two from London and two from Argentina. Allegedly Argentina chose Jorge Fondebrider and the Mexican Carla Mares, from the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team.

According to what was agreed last December in London, the unknown remains at Darwin cemetery will be exhumed, analyzed in a Cordoba laboratory, checked with the different DNAs and families will decide what to do with them. According to the Argentine foreign ministry all families have said they want remains to be returned to the Falklands cemetery. When necessary a double check of DNAs will be done in Spain.

The cemetery in Darwin, also known as the Argentine memorial holds 237 graves, including 123 marked as “Argentine Solider Known only to God”, and what can be found in those tombs is not clear. Thus the strict privacy rules given the sensitivity of the humanitarian operation. In fact according to the Argentine foreign ministry, 95 families have consented to the DNA sample testing.

The humanitarian project to identify remains of unknown Argentine combatants buried at Darwin was agreed last December in London and signed by Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan and Argentine deputy foreign minister Pedro Villagra Delgado. The accord is part of the 13 September wide ranging joint statement, signed by minister Susana Malcorra and Alan Duncan in Buenos Aires, which covers bilateral political, economic, trade issues including a special chapter on the South Atlantic referred to the Falklands, facilitating connectivity and lifting trade and economic impediments imposed by previous Argentine administrations on the Islands.

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  • Jo Bloggs

    Hmmm... I'd be surprised if they find the body of Marine Addis... I'd also be surprised if they only find the remains of the Argentines believed to be there and that all of the Argentines believed to be there are there.

    BTW, I suggest that some of the Argentine hangers onners who visit Darwin shortly give their cemetery a bit of attention. Not only is is falling apart but it is overgrown and in need of a decent coat of paint. I guess they'll blame us for that also. Can't even look after your own dead but you expect people to believe you'd take our interests into account if you ever got your pinkish hands on our Islands.

    May 25th, 2017 - 11:07 pm +4
  • Roger Lorton

    Funny you should mention the state of that foreign Cemetery Jo, I hear that the families group that are supposed to take care of it are in a bit of a panic, and may have it all looking spruce for the ICRC by the 19th. Possibly :-)

    May 25th, 2017 - 11:40 pm +4
  • Jo Bloggs

    Yes, Roger, it is quite interesting. The guy who normally looks after the short-term maintenance out there doesn't seem to have done much lately. Maybe he isn't getting paid anymore. A few months ago I noticed four guys (I would guess they were Argentines by the look of them) out there that I didn't know and they were slapping paint all over the place; a real botch job, just painting over the top of flaking, bird shit-stained paint on all the crosses. That was the week before the ICRC advance party visit. They looked really miserable as well; I tried to engage with them but they wouldn't even look up.

    May 25th, 2017 - 11:58 pm +2
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