Forensic evidence of torture: Investigations into human rights violations

Henneberg, Marika Linnéa (2000). Forensic evidence of torture: Investigations into human rights violations. University of Birmingham. M.Phil.


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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: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Phil.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Phil.
College/Faculty: Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Historical Studies
School or Department: Department of Ancient History and Archaeology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D839 Post-war History, 1945 on
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
J Political Science > JX International law


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