Humanitarian Forensic Action. A New Field of Application for Forensic Sciences

  • Duarte Nuno Vieira


The chapter, divided into three sections, outlines the emerging role of forensic sciences and legal medicine in the humanitarian action, which includes all the interventions aimed at furnishing aid and assistance designed to protect lives and health, alleviate suffering, protect human dignity during and in the aftermath of man-made crises and natural disasters, as well as prevent and strengthen preparedness for the occurrence of such situations. All of the areas and sub-disciplines of forensic science and medicine can profitably be applied in the humanitarian forensic action, in particular forensic anthropology, odontology, genetics, pathology, and clinical legal and forensic medicine. Forensic expertise in human rights protection serves four main purposes: to help families uncover the fate of their loved ones, to collect and document evidence of inhumane crimes, to use that evidence for convicting the offenders, and ultimately to set up new and more efficient prevention strategies.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Forensic Medicine, Ethics and Medical LawUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal

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