This article describes the operational practices of the city morgue in Santiago, Chile and their effects on the family members who come to claim the bodies of their loved ones. It explores the impact of the body‘s passage through the morgue on the observance of rituals surrounding death and mourning. An underlying conflict can be identified between the states partial appropriation of and interference with the body and intrinsic needs associated with the performance of funeral rites in accordance with cultural and religious precepts.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal

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.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal

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.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Open Access (free)
Portraying the exhumation and reburial of Polish Jewish Holocaust victims in the pages of yizkor books

no intentions of remaining in post-war Poland returned to their home towns with this sole purpose in mind. Some returning Jews took snapshots of the exhumation and reburial of their relatives and friends, thereby etching the final resting place of their loved ones in their personal memories and for posterity.2 Others recorded the disinterment and reinterment of fellow Jews for posterity in communal memorial books or ‘yizkor books’. Written mainly in Yiddish and Hebrew, yizkor books (yizker bikher in Yiddish; sifrei zikaron in Hebrew) were the product of grass

in Human remains and identification
Challenges and technological solutions to the ­identification of individuals in mass grave scenarios in the modern context

act took place. Massacres of innocent civilians and extrajudicial executions are a violation of the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol I which govern the proper burial, identification, and registration of those killed in conflict.1 During an armed conflict perpetrators may attempt to hide their crimes by creating mass graves. Surviving family members can be left ignorant about the whereabouts of their loved ones and can only assume that they have been killed or are still being detained. Therefore, identifying victims of mass graves can bring

in Human remains and identification
The forensic and political lives of secondary mass graves in Bosnia and Herzegovina

by the end of the film, thanks to obstructive police officers (themselves still employees of the state despite their possible complicity in the wartime events the film depicts), and the families of the four young men fail in their attempt to gain some measure of closure over the loss of their loved ones. While not an intentional narrative ploy by any means, the film offers a potent example of the ever-reassembling network of memory politics in Bosnia and Herzegovina. A legal artefact (the witness Secondary mass graves in Bosnia and Herzegovina   143 statement

in Human remains and identification

subject of considerable amounts of research, a thorough sociological study of the gulag system has yet to be conducted. This is due in no small part to the difficulties involved in identifying its victims. Confiscated bodies One of the defining characteristics of the political violence of the Soviet period was that the bodies of its victims were never returned to their loved ones. The confiscation of bodies by the state was established from the outset as the standard procedure for the treatment of the corpses of detainees, following explicit instructions given in a

in Human remains and mass violence
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Victim, witness and evidence of mass violence

beings to ashes and smoke actually mean? What can the fact of erasing all traces, ‘the memory and grief of the persons’ who have loved those who have died signify? What is the sense of the censorship of the terms ‘death’ or ‘victim’ and of the imposition of the word ‘Figuren’ as a substitute, if it is not the sentencing to death of death, which is neither a metaphor nor a linguistic figure, but the physical annihilation of the existence of millions of individuals, and thus of the very idea of humanity itself?39 It is absolutely not by chance that, in all genocidal

in Human remains and mass violence
Open Access (free)
Borders, ticking clocks and timelessness among temporary labour migrants in Israel

tomorrow? Imprisonment? Deportation? How long since the migrant had the peace of mind of secure tenure? These are the questions that construct the time frame of unauthorised migrants. Cwerner’s (2001) seminal work on migration time describes how migrants have parallel time modes in which they must adjust to local understandings of time, live a life far from the ones they love (and thus on an alternate life timeline), generate communities which exist apart from the dominant society and also from the home country, and finally carve out their own path. Part of the migration

in Migrating borders and moving times
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The politics of exhumation in post-genocide Rwanda

, survivors attempted to locate the places where their loved ones had been buried by the killers during the genocide. They then set about organizing the first exhumations of bodies which had been buried in small pits or latrines or simply placed in depressions in the ground in order to restore these victims their dignity. However, these exhumations and reburials proved in practice to be very difficult to organize because of the limited physical and economic means at the survivors’ disposal. The different logistical methods used by the killers during the genocide posed a

in Human remains and identification