Searching for Kuwaiti War dead

In 1990, many hundreds of Kuwaitis were killed when Saddam Hussain invaded the country over disputes oil production.

More than 600, mainly military personnel, remain 'missing in action' from The Gulf War and efforts to find them continue to this day.

In order to help in their mission, the Kuwaitis called in LJMU forensic anthropologist Dr Constantine Eliopoulos, a leading expert in mass grave detection and excavation.

“Some individuals have already been recovered and returned to their families where possible, but there are many more unaccounted for and theirs is a difficult mission,” said Dr Eliopoulos.

The scientist from LJMU’s School of Biological and Environmental Sciences, has extensive experience of finding and processing mass graves in Cyprus and elsewhere.

He has been in Kuwait training new recruits to the police’s new Disaster Victim Identification Team, conducting seminars and on-site training in the Kuwaiti desert.

The seminars dealt with mass graves and in particular grave location, excavation and laboratory analysis. After the theoretical principles were explained in detail, a field exercise was conducted in the Kuwaiti desert.

Dr Abdullah Alawadhi, Lieutenant Colonel of the Kuwaiti Police who obtained his doctorate at LJMU, provided the simulated mass grave that he had used for this doctoral research. The grave contained 8 sheep, as well as other pieces of evidence. Under the instruction of Dr Eliopoulos, the DVI team excavated the grave and were taught under real conditions all the important elements of such investigations.

Added Dr Eliopoulos: “This is important humanitarian work which underlines our commitment to global issues and communities of all types.”


-Dr Eliopoulos recently attended the Triennial Meeting of the International Academy of Legal Medicine where he chaired a meeting on Forensic “Humanitarian Action” and presented his work: “The Missing Persons Exhumation and Identification Project of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus: 25 Years of Challenges and Lessons Learned”.



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