Ernesto Schwartz-Marin and Arely Cruz-Santiago

The article will present the findings of ethnographic research into the Colombian and Mexican forensic systems, introducing the first citizen-led exhumation project made possible through the cooperation of scholars, forensic specialists and interested citizens in Mexico. The coupling evolution and mutual re-constitution of forensic science will be explored, including new forms of citizenship and nation building projects – all approached as lived experience – in two of Latin America‘s most complex contexts: organised crime and mass death.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Zahira Araguete-Toribio

This article considers how the reburial and commemoration of the human remains of the Republican defeated during the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) is affected by the social, scientific and political context in which the exhumations occur. Focusing on a particular case in the southwestern region of Extremadura, it considers how civil society groups administer reburial acts when a positive identification through DNA typing cannot be attained. In so doing, the article examines how disparate desires and memories come together in collective reburial of partially individuated human remains.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Jeremy Sarkin

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
T.K. Ralebitso-Senior, T.J.U. Thompson, and H.E. Carney

In the mid-1990s, the crime scene toolkit was revolutionised by the introduction of DNA-based analyses such as the polymerase chain reaction, low copy number DNA analysis, short-tandem repeat typing, pulse-field gel electrophoresis and variable number tandem repeat. Since then, methodological advances in other disciplines, especially molecular microbial ecology, can now be adapted for cutting-edge applications in forensic contexts. Despite several studies and discussions, there is, however, currently very little evidence of these techniques adoption at the contemporary crime scene. Consequently, this article discusses some of the popular omics and their current and potential exploitations in the forensic ecogenomics of body decomposition in a crime scene. Thus, together with published supportive findings and discourse, knowledge gaps are identified. These then justify the need for more comprehensive, directed, concerted and global research towards state-of-the-art microecophysiology method application and/or adaptation for subsequent successful exploitations in this additional context of microbial forensics.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Roxana Ferllini

This article presents an account of the involvement of forensic anthropology in the investigation of human rights abuses in the modern era, and the difficulties it faces with respect to lack of adequate funding, volatile settings, the presence of unexploded ordnance, corruption in governmental agencies and a lack of good will, absence of support for NGOs and the curtailment of formal judicial proceedings to effect transitional justice. Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Spain, Mexico and the Northern Triangle are provided as regional examples of the problems encountered when attempting to conduct forensic anthropological investigations to locate mass graves, retrieve victims and obtain proper identifications. Interventions by various organisations are highlighted to illustrate their assistance to forensic and non-forensic individuals through technical support, training and mentoring in the areas of crime-scene management and identification techniques. Interventions in mass-grave processing when state agencies have failed, the importance of DNA banks and information from family members and witnesses are also presented.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
The manifold materialities of human remains
Claudia Fonseca and Rodrigo Grazinoli Garrido

In this article we explore the relational materiality of fragments of human cadavers used to produce DNA profiles of the unidentified dead at a forensic genetics police laboratory in Rio de Janeiro. Our point of departure is an apparently simple problem: how to discard already tested materials in order to open up physical space for incoming tissue samples. However, during our study we found that transforming human tissues and bone fragments into disposable trash requires a tremendous institutional investment of energy, involving negotiations with public health authorities, criminal courts and public burial grounds. The dilemma confronted by the forensic genetic lab suggests not only how some fragments are endowed with more personhood than others, but also how the very distinction between human remains and trash depends on a patchwork of multiple logics that does not necessarily perform according to well-established or predictable scripts.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Open Access (free)
Digital Bodies, Data and Gifts
Kristin Bergtora Sandvik

, sweat, sperm and tears; and the capture of individual characteristics, including DNA, fingerprints, iris scans and voice and face recognition. Wearables are constituted through regulation and legalities: a plethora of ethical and legal norms and rules shape and constrain the development of wearables and their affordances. The main regulatory frames for wearables are data-protection and privacy laws, consumer regulation and human rights law, which govern research

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Challenges and technological solutions to the ­identification of individuals in mass grave scenarios in the modern context
Gillian Fowler and Tim Thompson

and records remain classified or unobtainable. An additional complication is the issue of body parts that cannot be identified and, therefore, cannot be returned to the family, which has societal repercussions on national reconciliation policies. Further, it is imperative to identify the victim group if charges of genocide are being pursued. Forensic scientists, including anthropologists, have been exploring the potential of new methods and processes in the resolution of such contexts. The introduction of DNA to contexts where 118   Gillian Fowler and Tim Thompson

in Human remains and identification
The case of mitochondrial transfer
Iain Brassington

at the very earliest stages of life, or even prior to their life beginning, provides an opportunity to improve what might otherwise be a significantly diminished quality of life. (For the sake of what follows, I shall leave to one side the debates surrounding the non-identity problem: there is so little mtDNA compared to nuclear DNA within a cell that I shall assume that mtDNA transfer alters a determinate person’s life, not the person who lives it. If I am wrong on this, and the identity of the child born changes according to whether or not mtDNA transfer has been

in The freedom of scientific research
Open Access (free)
The politics of exhumation in post-genocide Rwanda
Rémi Korman

, DNA tests were also performed in order to establish individual identities. Following the investigation carried out at the Amgar Garage, the Rwandan government, in a joint decision with the Prosecutor, decided to stop these exhumations and forensic investigations.26 The majority of the published studies examining this major turning point explain this choice in terms of the ‘shock’ felt by survivors on seeing these exhumations being carried out, a reaction which formed the focus of a demonstration organized by the Ikuba association in 1996.27 On balance, however, this

in Human remains and identification