Applying forensic anthropology and related sciences, and in close collaboration with victims and their relatives, EAAF aims to recover and identify remains, return them to families and provide evidence in court proceedings. Through this work, we seek to shed light on human rights violations, contributing to the search for truth, justice, reparation and prevention of violations.
The objectives of EAAF's work are to:
- Apply forensic sciences to the investigation and documentation of human rights violations;
- Provide this evidence in court, special commissions of inquiry, and international tribunals;
- Assist the relatives of the victims in pursuit of their rights to recover the remains of their "disappeared" loved ones, so that they can carry out the customary funeral rights and mourn their dead;
- Collaborate in the training of new teams in other countries where investigations into human rights violations are necessary;
- Conduct seminars on the human rights applications of forensic sciences for humanitarian organizations, judicial systems, and forensic institutes in any country where people express interest in this subject;
- Contribute to the historical reconstruction of the recent past, often distorted or hidden by the parties or government institutions which are themselves implicated in the crimes under investigation.
How Does Forensic Anthropology Apply to Human Rights Cases?
Forensic anthropology uses methods and techniques from physical anthropology and forensic medicine to solve legal cases involving skeletal or almost skeletonized remains. EAAF also draws from forensic archeology, which applies traditional archeological methods to legal contexts. The work involves a range of disciplines, including forensic pathology, geophysics, odontology, genetics, ballistics, radiology, and computer science, among others. EAAF utilizes various techniques from these fields to exhume and identify victims of disappearances and extra-judicial killings; return their remains to relatives; present evidence of violations and patterns of abuse to relevant judicial and non-judicial bodies; and train national professionals to continue this work on a local level. EAAF members act as expert witnesses and consultants for local and international human rights organizations, national judiciaries, international tribunals, and special commissions of inquiry, such as Truth Commissions.