Three experts from the internationally-renowned Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF) will conduct pilot exhumations on 40 graves out of the 6,800 that the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs’ Bureau of National Devotees plans to exhume.
“Before we could put this into practice in the field, we needed at least 15 delegation exchanges for training purposes. Vietnamese experts have made several trips to Argentina,” said Gutierrez.
“The project will equip Vietnamese experts with the practical skills and knowledge they need to carry the work on by themselves.”
The project to identify war martyrs’ remains is being conducted under the framework of the Vietnamese Prime Minister’s Decision 150, which came into force in 2013.
Over the years, Argentine professionals have trained their Vietnamese counterparts in a number of areas, ranging from locating human remains to collecting and processing blood samples.
“Our forensic experts found that the laboratories in Vietnam are usually well-equipped and have several enthusiastic forensic experts,” said the ambassador.
The main obstacle was the lack of technical knowledge to use the equipment and follow the procedures, and that was where Argentina came into play, because cooperation focused on technical training, he said.
Of the two tasks the cooperation is concentrating on, the Argentine experts recently started the second task of communicating with martyrs’ relatives and society.
“Communicating with relatives is a critical aspect of the forensic research because they can supply the information and blood samples the experts can use to conduct their investigation and find the truth,” said Gutierrez.
“Vietnam is building a genetics bank and to make it feasible, it is essential to have strong co-ordination with society, for example, to provide blood samples.
“However, this approach must be dealt with carefully by professionals since it’s a sensitive matter, there are emotions involved and it’s important not to generate false expectations.”
Argentina is currently implementing several cooperation projects in Vietnam, many of which consist of technical training in science and technology applied to agriculture and farming. The cooperation in forensic anthropology and genetics for the search and identification of unidentified human remains from the war is considered a major highlight in bilateral relation.