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Montevideo, October 20th 2021 - 01:47 UTC

 

 

Team of forensic experts arrives in Falklands for second phase of Humanitarian Project

Monday, August 9th 2021 - 09:20 UTC
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During the first phase of the HPP at the Argentine military cemetery in Darwin 115 Argentine soldiers were given names thanks to check crossing DNA samples (Pic ICRC) During the first phase of the HPP at the Argentine military cemetery in Darwin 115 Argentine soldiers were given names thanks to check crossing DNA samples (Pic ICRC)

An international team of six forensic experts, including two Argentines, and coordinated by the International Committee of the Red Cross is scheduled to arrive this Monday to the Falkland Islands for the second phase of the Humanitarian Project Plan to identify remains of Argentine combatants fallen during the 1982 conflict.

During the first phase of the HPP at the Argentine military cemetery in Darwin 115 Argentine soldiers were given names thanks to check crossing DNA samples taken from relatives of the unidentified remains.

This time contrary to what happened in June, July 2017 when 122 remains were exhumed from 121 graves with a plaque that simply read, “Argentine solider only known to God”, the work will concentrate in what is considered a collective grave, C 1-10. Originally it was not included in the first HPP because it did have four full names, but the remains of three of them were later found in what until then were considered unidentified graves. Thus the need to establish the real contents of C 1-10.

According to Argentine sources the team arriving Monday and which will have to comply with quarantine rules consists of Mercedes Salado Puerto from the Argentine Anthropology Forensic Team; John Clark, English forensic expert; the head of the ICRC Forensic Unit, Luis Fondebrider; the ICRC coordinator Laurent Corbaz and two other experts, one from Australia and the second from USA. All of them except the last two, worked in the first phase of the HPP.

This Monday from MPA the team will be driven to Stanley and following a week in quarantine and isolation they will begin work on Monday 16 August at the Argentine military cemetery in Darwin, where a container with a lab will be mounted.

Apparently the C1-10 tomb should have remains of a crew from an Argentine helicopter that was blown up in the air, May 1982. Remains will be sent to the Genetic Forensic lab in Cordoba, Argentina to make the DNA cross checking with those of relatives.

However there is a second task for the team, this time at the Teal Inlet, where a field hospital functioned during the war and which according to some reports could hold remains of an Argentine combatant. The process won't be easy since limbs and other body parts from the hospital where also interred in the area, but an ongoing investigation from the Falklands Royal Police helped to clear a small possible area with the grave.

The Humanitarian Project Plan, in its phase 1 and 2 finally fructified after years of discussions between the governments of Argentina, United Kingdom, the consent of Falklands elected officials, under the guidance of the ICRC. So far it has been considered a great success by the four parts involved.

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