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Forensic evidence of torture: Investigations into human rights violations

Henneberg, Marika Linnéa (2000)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

It is demonstrated in this thesis that there is a major potential for effective recovery and documentation of evidence relating to torture and fatal human rights violations from clandestine graves and human skeletal remains. Investigations into these types of crimes are justified legally, ethically and for humanitarian reasons. The secrecy surrounding torture further emphasizes the need for impartial investigations where documentation of evidence should have top priority, alongside the identification of victims. Evidence of torture from graves and skeletal remains are divided into three main categories. First, skeletal trauma is often present after physical torture, and by gaining knowledge about specific torture methods it may be possible to determine the origins of such trauma. Secondly, material evidence in form of implements used to inflict pain, cause death or to restrain a victim are commonly found in clandestine graves. Thirdly, the contextual evidence from graves is important, particularly spatial relationships between human remains and associated objects, positions of individual victims within a grave, and all other general archaeological information such as stratigraphy. A thorough understanding of physical torture methods and their sequelae will provide possibilities for recognizing important evidence related to fatal human rights abuses.

Type of Work:M.Phil. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Hunter, John
School/Faculty:Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Historical Studies
Department:Department of Ancient History and Archaeology
Subjects:CC Archaeology
D839 Post-war History, 1945 on
HT Communities. Classes. Races
JX International law
Institution:University of Birmingham
Library Catalogue:Check for printed version of this thesis
ID Code:3606
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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