“The ICRC has a long-standing history as a neutral intermediary in conflicts around the world, and it is our hope that this operation can move forward quickly so the remains of those killed in action can be returned to their loves ones and mourned with dignity,” said Martin Schüepp, ICRC Eurasia Regional Director in Geneva. “We are also here to facilitate the release of detainees for the sides of the conflict so that they can be reunited with their families.”
The ICRC is available to offer technical advice to the sides so that the dead are identified in accordance with international humanitarian law, and then facilitate the return of bodies.
“We are in regular discussions with the sides and expressed our readiness to engage in further discussions on the nature of the involvement of the ICRC to support the return of detainees and human remains, including the logistics and security guarantees for our teams,” said Schüepp. “It is also our hope that this agreement translates into meaningful relief for families after weeks of intense fighting.”
Following the earlier escalation of this conflict along the line of contact in April 2016, the ICRC supported the sides in carrying out similar operations. At that time, thanks to the coordinated efforts, it was possible to handover all the deceased to their families.
Since ICRC started working in connection with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in 1992, the organization has repeatedly helped authorities with such operations.