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 forensic and political lives of secondary mass graves in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Admir Jugo and Sari Wastell

This paper will examine the excavation of mass graves in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has evolved into a significantly standardized yet methodologically flexible set of procedures based on integrated principles of forensic archaeology, forensic anthropology and crime scene processing – the overall goal of which is to maximize the collection and documentation of all sets of human remains, forensic artifacts and features for the purposes of establishing an objective historical record, supporting the criminal justice process and the victim identification process.

In particular, the phenomenon of the secondary mass grave will be explored. Why might a secondary mass grave play a distinct role from a primary mass grave, and in what ways, and for whom? Through an (admittedly implicit) description of the actor-network in which these graves are embedded, and the many sorts of actants with which they are in relation, the authors will attempt to describe the precarious and shifting place of Bosnia’s secondary mass graves in the country’s processes of social reconciliation and peace-building.

in Human remains and identification
Open Access (free)
The bodyand counter-revolutionary warfare inapartheid South Africa
Nicky Rousseau

: after the crime scene had been marked out, photographed, and sketched, and, where possible, fingerprints taken, the body would be removed to the nearest police mortuary. Mortuary records tell their own story of unnatural and violent death of Africans under apartheid. In one region’s records, listings for the bodies resulting from counter-revolutionary warfare opera­ tions interrupt the columns of numerous stillborn and infant deaths, homicides, winter deaths of the elderly, suicides, and un­ timely deaths in motor vehicle or mining accidents. In almost all cases, the

in Destruction and human remains
José López Mazz

excavations made it possible to reconstruct crime scenes and identify some of the ‘patterns’ of criminal behaviour. Forensic anthropology has for its part allowed the torture – and in several cases, the causes of death – of bodies to be known and understood. There were clear patterns of peri-mortem fractures to the bones of the victims (to the ribs, legs, arms, and skulls), allowing inferences and theories about the conditions endured by disappeared detainees during their clandestine confinement to be made.33 DNA identification has brought one of the greatest scientific and

in Human remains and identification
Tony Fitzpatrick

-yielding hair found at a crime scene may have been planted), but because Straw’s claim reduces DNA to the status of an interview note rather than as something that yields vital personal information about us. The commodification of society that Schiller warns against has engendered the criminalisation of society for, as Bauman (1998a) notes, those who cannot or will not be seduced by the commodity form are immediately suspected as being threats to it. Therefore the commodification of the body also engenders the criminalisation of the body as its logical extension: what I

in After the new social democracy
Open Access (free)
The discovery, commemoration and reinterment of eleven Alsatian victims of Nazi terror, 1947– 52
Devlin M. Scofield

1,000 DM and went so far as to take a sketch of crime scene footprints to local shoemakers in an effort to uncover any possible leads. In addition to the extensive investigative measures, the police summoned a number of local suspects to check their alibis. These individuals included people who had had confrontations with French occupation authorities or who had reputations of having been ‘good National Socialists’.50 Despite these efforts, the investigation failed to identify a suspect and was closed on 25 April 1952. Badenese officials were right to fear the

in Human remains in society
Alexander Korb

began recovering the corpses that had been thrown into the karst fissures, although this task proved to be much more difficult. In the area of the camp there are numerous karst caves, some of them up to fifty metres deep.31 In the years after HRMV.indb 113 01/09/2014 17:28:39 114  Alexander Korb the war, a number of mass graves were investigated, but some of the crime scenes were never found. In the more permanent camps, the Ustaša had to adopt a more methodological approach to the disposal of corpses. This applied above all to Jasenovac. Here, too, there were

in Human remains and mass violence
Forensic and archaeological approaches to locating the remains of Holocaust victims
Caroline Sturdy Colls

be buried and remain undisturbed. Crime scenes became memorial spaces and lines were drawn under criminal investigations. This of course happened at different times throughout Europe, depending upon the political and social climate in any given country. In other places, the desire to search for the victims of the Holocaust never went away but was rather suppressed by politics or ongoing social tensions.14 Consequently, current attitudes towards human remains can sometimes be a reflection of the complex post-​war histories and cultural memory connected to a site.15

in Human remains in society
Joost Fontein

Mount Darwin mines Remaking the dead 127 contained very recent victims of the army’s violent take-over of the Chiadzwa diamond fields in late 2008 and early 2009, when it is alleged hundreds of illegal diamond miners and traders were machine-gunned from helicopters.28 No longer just deeply ‘disrespectful to the dead’, the exhumations were now criticised as being a deliberate attempt to destroy or ‘cover up’ crucial evidence of violence and murder. Certainly people questioned whether Chibondo was a ‘war grave’ or a ‘crime scene’, and for many using divination and

in Governing the dead