Investigators have exhumed the remains of 10 people since the beginning of the year, as part of a bicommuncal programme to resolve the fates of Greek and Turkish Cypriots missing since the 1974 invasion and intercommunal strife in the 60s.
The committee on missing persons (CMP) has identified five individuals by the end of July. At the moment, seven CMP crews were working, six in the north and one in the government-controlled areas, without however any findings so far.
Last year, the CMP exhumed the remains of 28 people and identified 42. The percentage of exhumations where remains were found until July this year was 17 per sent compared with 25 per cent in 2019.
CMP crews had searched 1,348 areas between January and July with a three and a half month break in between because of the coronavirus pandemic. Operations had been suspended on March 13 and resumed on July 1.
Leonidas Pantelides, the Greek Cypriot member of the CMP said crews were currently working in Petra, two in Templos, Lapithos, and Lefkoniko, where the search focused on various wells. One crew was working in the area around the prisons in occupied Nicosia.
In the government-controlled areas, one crew was working in Strovolos in search for the remains of Turkish Cypriots missing since 1963.
Scientists crossing the buffer zone are tested for the coronavirus every two weeks.
The exhumations are scheduled to continue in August. The CMP’s aim is to carry out at least 70 searches per year. To date in 2020 they have conducted 31.
The CMP’s aim is to identify and return as many remains of missing people as possible to bring an end to the uncertainty which has affected many families for so long. Investigating the cause of death is not within their remit.