ANNUAL REPORT: 2002
Based on our experiences working as forensic anthropologists for
Special Commissions of Inquiry and national and international Tribunals,we would like to
put forward a number of recommendations.
EAAF conducted extensive preliminary historical investigation and collection of antemortem data of disappeared people for the Cordoba Project in preparation for exhumation of the San Vicente Cemetery in Cordoba City; thirteen identifications of disappeared persons; exhumations in Bahia Blanca and Berazategui; recovery work at the Medical Legal Institute at La Plata; and the results of the investigation at the Avellaneda Cemetery
At the request of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), EAAF members conducted a preliminary forensic evaluation of human remains found at the MONUC Moroccan compound in Kisangani, DRC.
EAAF members traveled to El Salvador to assess the work that remained to be completed in EAAF's long-standing forensic investigation of the El Mozote massacre. While there, at the request of Tutela Legal, we also conducted a preliminary investigation of a recently-come-to-light massacre site called El Barrío.
At the request of the Special Prosecutors Office (SPO), two EAAF members and Dr. Clyde Snow returned to Ethiopia to testify on the Kotebe case, one of the cases being investigated at the trials against the Dergue regime. It was the first time that forensic anthropology and archaeology was utilized in local courts.
At the invitation of the UN Program for Development (UNDP), an EAAF member participated in an independent delegation created to evaluate the activities of the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation (FAFG) between the years 1998 to 2002.
At the request of the Burma Project/South East Asia Initiative of the Open Society Institute and TIFA Foundation in Jakarta, one EAAF member traveled to Indonesia to assess the situation regarding forensic work on human rights investigations.
At the request of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, an EAAF member joined a fact-finding mission to the Ivory Coast from December 26-29. The mission's purpose was to gather evidence of human rights violations, to assess accusations against both government and anti-government armed forces, and to assist in the peace process.
EAAF continued its consultancy work in Mexico. An EAAF member traveled to Mexico to participate in an international seminar titled "Truth Commissions: Torture, Reparations, and Prevention." Recently, EAAF was asked to assist a new Special Prosecutor investigating cases of people disappeared for political reasons during the 1960's and 1970's.
EAAF participated in three international forensic delegations to Peru, to collaborate with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Peruvian Forensic Anthropology Team and others involved in the investigation of human rights violations committed in Peru between 1980-2000.
At the request of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), three EAAF members conducted a preliminary forensic examination of alleged killing and burial sites. The sites are thought to contain the remains of human rights victims of the recent conflict in the Sierra Leone.
EAAF's collaboration with the Uruguayan Peace Commission continued to yield results. EAAF members recovered the remains of eight individuals from a municipal cemetery in the Uruguayan province of Colonia. Although they are not yet identified, the remains are thought to belong to Argentine citizens thrown from military aircraft into the Rio de la Plata and the Argentine Sea. EAAF also identified the remains of eight Uruguayans who disappeared in Buenos Aires.
In February, 2003, EAAF organized the first meeting of Latin
anthropologists,which resulted in the creation of the Latin American Forensic
Anthropology Association (ALAF).The gathering took place at Austin College in
Sherman,Texas from February 24 through March 1 and was sponsored b The Open
Societ Institute,New York and Austin College.
The right to truth is a fundamental emerging principle of
international human rights law,
and central to the project of confronting transitions to democracy and the legacy of
massive human rights violations.International law entitles the families of disappeared
persons to know the totality of circumstances surrounding the fate of their relatives and
imposes an obligation of investigation —the right to truth —on states.
A PROJECT OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS:
Action to resolve the problem of people unaccounted for as a result of armed conflict
or internal violence and to assist their families.