In the aftermath of conflict and gross human rights violations, victims have a right to
know what happened to their loved ones. Such a right is compromised if mass graves are not
adequately protected to preserve evidence, facilitate identification and repatriation of
the dead and enable a full and effective investigation to be conducted. Despite guidelines
for investigations of the missing, and legal obligations under international law, it is
not expressly clear how these mass graves are best legally protected and by whom. This
article asks why, to date, there are no unified mass-grave protection guidelines that
could serve as a model for states, authorities or international bodies when faced with
gross human rights violations or armed conflicts resulting in mass graves. The paper
suggests a practical agenda for working towards a more comprehensive set of legal
guidelines to protect mass graves.
This article examines the ways in which missing persons have been dealt with, mainly in
the former Yugoslavia, to show how the huge advances made in the search for, recovery and
identification of those who disappeared is positively impacting on the ability of families
to find their loved ones. The article surveys the advances made in dealing with the
missing on a range of fronts, including the technical and forensic capacities. It examines
some of the other developments that have occurred around the world with regard to the
search for, recovery and identification of people and makes recommendations on how to make
improvements to ensure that the rights of families around the world, as well as a range of
other human rights, including truth and justice, are enhanced.
Marco Aurelio Guimarães, Raffaela Arrabaça Francisco, Martin Evison, Edna Sadayo Miazato Iwamura, Carlos Eduardo Palhares Machado, Ricardo Henrique Alves da Silva, Maria Eliana Castro Pinheiro, Diva Santana, and Julie Alvina Guss Patrício
Exhumation may be defined as the legally sanctioned excavation and recovery of the
remains of lawfully buried or – occasionally – cremated individuals, as distinct from
forensic excavations of clandestinely buried remains conducted as part of a criminal
investigation and from unlawful disinterment of human remains, commonly referred to as
bodysnatching. The aim of this article is to review the role of exhumation – so defined –
in the activities of CEMEL, the Medico-Legal Centre of the Ribeirão Preto Medical
School-University of São Paulo, in international, regional and local collaborations.
Exhumations form part of routine forensic anthropology casework; scientific research in
physical and forensic anthropology; and forensic casework conducted in collaboration with
the Brazilian Federal Police; and are carried out as part of humanitarian investigations
into deaths associated with the civil–military dictatorship of 1964 to 1985. This article
aims to offer a non-technical summary – with reference to international comparative
information – of the role of exhumation in investigative and scientific work and to
discuss developments in their historical and political context.
Established during the Guatemalan Peace Process, the Oslo Accord contemplates the
question of compensating the victims of internal armed conflict. Not only was this accord
founded on the principles of victims rights, but it also intends to contribute to the
democratic reconstruction of Guatemalan society through a process of recognition of
victims status and memory – intended to have a reconciling function. The article focuses
on the work of two organisations implementing the Oslo Accord and aims to analyse the
discourses and practices of the local actors and their perception of the application of
victims rights. Civil society actors and members of the National Compensation Programme
demonstrate different approaches both in practical work and in representations of what is
right. However, revendication of local cultural values is present in all actors discourse,
revealing their ambiguous position in regard to state government.
Heritage Convention. The same problems are to be found in the debate on humanrights.
Intimations of humanrights can be found far back in time, actually as far back as pharaonic Egypt. However, the Age of Enlightenment has been assigned a special role in the narrative of humanrights, with the American Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the French Revolution’s Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in 1789 as milestones. The UN’s Universal Declaration of HumanRights (1948) is usually regarded as a reaction against the atrocities of the 1930s and
rights in conventions in the twentieth century, albeit constantly disputed (e.g. Universal Declaration of HumanRights, 1948; Bring 2011 ).
The material icons of progress are to do with new, cross-border technologies in which inventors and engineers are agents. They are technologies that have widened the horizon and increased the range and speed of human beings. They include lenses used in spectacles, telescopes, and microscopes. They also comprise the development from the astronomer Galileo Galilei’s first telescope to present-day satellite telescopes that have
concept is constantly becoming relevant to new areas or seeping into closely related fields: heritage is combined with such words as archaeology, art, canon, church, colonialism, commercialism, conservation, criminality, democracy, development, development-assistance policy, economics, education, environment, ethics, forests, future, globalisation, politics of memory, history, humanrights, identity, identity policy, landscape, legislation, management, memory, modernity(!), museums, nationalism, peace-building, politics, quality of life, religion, religious services
, for example, national legislation and international conventions such as the Universal Declaration of HumanRights (1948) and the World Heritage Convention (1972).
Ever since Riegl’s innovative treatise, there has been an extensive and sustained debate about heritage values. This debate takes place within and between the two cultures of heritage. The debate is primarily driven by the need that public authorities and museums have to be able to manage a constantly growing heritage in a both flexible and credible way in relation to other stakeholders in society. On
This article aims to shed light on the post-mortem practices for
Palestinian dead bodies when there is suspicion of human rights violations by
Israeli military forces. By focusing on the case of Omran Abu Hamdieh from
Al-Khalil (Hebron), the article explores the interactions between Palestinian
social-institutional agents, Israeli military forces and international
medico-legal agents. Drawing on ethnographic and archival data, the article
explores how the intersectionality between the various controlling powers is
inscribed over the Palestinian dead bodies and structures their death rites. The
article claims that inviting foreign medico-legal experts in the Palestinian
context could reveal the true death story and the human rights violations, but
also reaffirms the sovereignty of the Israeli military forces over the
Palestinian dead and lived bodies.
During the Spanish Civil War, extrajudicial executions and disappearances of political
opponents took place and their corpses were buried in unregistered mass graves. The
absence of an official policy by successive democratic governments aimed at the
investigation of these cases, the identification and exhumation of mass graves, together
with legal obstacles, have prevented the victims families from obtaining reparation,
locating and recovering the human remains. This paper argues that this state of affairs is
incompatible with international human rights law and Spain should actively engage in the
search for the whereabouts and identification of the bodies with all the available