The primary objective of the CMP is to return the remains of missing persons to their families in order to arrange for a proper burial and close a long period of anguish and uncertainty. Most Cypriot families have been directly or indirectly affected and it is hoped that the healing of old wounds will in turn favour the overall process of reconciliation between both communities. To this end, the project is of a bi-communal nature with teams of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot scientists involved at every stage of the exhumation and identification processes.
The project includes an Archaeological Phase (Phase I), related to the exhumation of the remains of missing persons, an Anthropological Phase (Phase II), related to the analysis of the recovered remains at the CMP Anthropological Laboratory, and a Genetic Phase (Phase III), related to the DNA identification process. In the final phase, Identification and Return of Remains (Phase IV), the information obtained in all previous phases is reconciled and a formal identification is made. This is followed by the return of the identified remains to their families, usually accompanied by efforts to help the families cope with the difficult task of coming to terms with their loss.