Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Forensic Anthropology: Investigating Human Rights Violations

  • José Pablo Baraybar
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_155

Introduction and Definition

Forensic anthropology and archaeology have significantly improved human rights work throughout the world, particularly in contexts where investigations are carried out following armed conflicts where state officials have perpetrated human rights abuses. International instruments set forth by the United Nations (UN) to prevent crimes against humanity, such as the Geneva Conventions, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, have set the groundwork for the increasing inclusion of forensic anthropology and archaeology in the search for legal, historical, and humanitarian identification purposes. These scientific fields use an important variety of methods for gathering and analyzing data. The physical evidence helps to establish human behavioral patterns that provide important clues about the most probable sequence of events.

Key Issues


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  1. Equipo Peruano de Antropología Forense (EPAF). 2001. Ciencias forenses y Derechos Humanos: una propuesta para la investigación forense eficaz de violaciones a los Derechos Humanos en el Perú. Documento no publicado preparado para Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos. Lima.Google Scholar
  2. - 2008. Extra judicial killings and forced disappearances: a forensic manual for human rights investigators. American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative. US Department of State.Google Scholar
  3. Kimmerle, E.H. & J.P Baraybar. 2008. Skeletal trauma: identification of injuries resulting from human rights abuse and armed conflict. Boca Raton: CRC Press.Google Scholar

Further Reading

  1. Baraybar, J.P. & M. Gasior. 2006. Forensic anthropology and the determination of the most probable cause of death: an example from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Journal of Forensic Sciences 51: 103-8.Google Scholar
  2. Baraybar, J.P., C.R. Cardoza, J.C. Tello & M. Lumbreras. 2008. Desaparición forzada en el Perú: el aporte de la investigación antropológica forense en la obtención de la evidencia probatoria y la construcción de un paraguas humanitario. Lima: Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos y Equipo Peruano de Antropología Forense.Google Scholar
  3. United Nations. 1991. U.N. manual on the effective prevention and investigation of extra legal, arbitrary and summary executions. U.N. Doc. E/ST/CSDHA/12, University of Minnesota.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Equipo Peruano de Antropologia Forense (EPAF)LimaPeru