The International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC, team of forensic experts, including two from Argentina, will be working in the identification of unknown Argentine soldiers buried in the Falkland Islands Darwin cemetery, between June and September 2017, according to a report revealed by Argentina's official news agency, Telam.
The Telam report which mentions government sources, says the four-month project with a cost of US$ 1.3 million will be financed by Argentina and UK, and DNA samples from the remains will be analyzed and compared with those of the families, in a highly professional forensic lab in Cordoba.
This has been established in the 'Humanitarian Project plan' signed by Argentina's Deputy foreign minister Pedro Villagara Delgado; UK's Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan and Peter Maurer president of ICRC, says the report.
Argentine and UK delegates have been holding a round of meetings in recent weeks, first in Geneva, at ICRC headquarters and later in London, where the beginning date of the identification project and methodology were agreed.
Telam says that during the four months, activities will be concentrated at the Darwin cemetery, and the final report to be delivered to the next of kin will take an additional several weeks. The Argentine members of the forensic team of experts belong to the Argentine Team of Forensic Anthropology, EAAF, which has international reputation gained in years working to identify victims of the latest military dictatorship.
However ICRC will inform Argentina and UK the names of the forensic team, two weeks before starting this new investigation phase.
Tissue samples will be taken from each of the unknown soldiers' graves, one at a time, and remains immediately reburied in appropriate coffins. The ICRC role, is described as exclusively humanitarian, deployed in neutral mediation, ensuring remains are treated with the utmost dignity and that the graves will be returned to their original state following forensic actions.
ICRC will regularly transport lots of samples to the Cordoba lab, specially created for the Latin American Initiative for Identification of Disappeared persons, where they will be tested with blood sample taken from family members. According to Argentine diplomatic sources, over 80 of the 123 graves with unknown soldiers have agreed to the identification process.
During the months forensic experts will be working in the Darwin cemetery, media will not be allowed and the area will be out of bounds for the public. A temporary morgue will be mounted at the cemetery for collecting and protecting samples. Finally the US$ 1.3 million funded by Argentina and UK will finance labor, lab tests, purchase of material and equipment, expenses while in the Falklands plus transport costs.