We are the first to bring to light misidentifications of missing persons’ remains, says CING

The Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics (CING) was the first one to track down particular incidents of mis-identifications of remains of missing persons and issued a statement on November 2015, CING says in a press release on Friday, which was issued following media reports and statements on mis-identifications.

The Institute clarifies that between 2004-2005, 15 identifications took place which were carried out on defective samples from Makedonitissa Tomb, which were also sprayed with chemicals. The samples resulted to limited identifications on a small number of genetic data, the press release says.

CING points out that the reason the genetic data was limited is because the genetic substance had disintegrated and deteriorated from the chemicals sprayed on the bones or because of the way they were stored and kept away. It is added that the 15 identifications were carried out before the effects of the chemical process were known.

From these 15 cases, remains were returned to the families of six missing persons. The CING adds in its press release that all the relatives were informed in 2015 for the fist time about the possibility the identification was not accurate.

During the briefing of the relatives which took place in person, the CING sincerely apologized for the mistake and the distress.

The Institute also says that the whole procedure took place in cooperation with the Office of the Presidential Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs and when the problem was spotted, CING immediately terminated the identification procedures on all remains which were sprayed because these remains needed to go under special process. Since then, efforts are underway to solve the problem, the CING says.

Hundreds of Greek Cypriots went missing during the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, most of them combatants but also women, children and elderly people. During the same period and in the early 1960 when intercommunal fighting broke out Turkish Cypriots went missing too.

The CMP, comprising one representative from each community on the island and a UN representative, was set up in the early 1980s with a view to locate, unearth and return remains of persons whose fate has been unaccounted for to their next of kin.

Source: Cyprus News Agency