1st Edition

Skeletal Trauma Identification of Injuries Resulting from Human Rights Abuse and Armed Conflict

    528 Pages 614 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

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    Born out of the need to recover, analyze, and present physical evidence on thousands of individual victims of large-scale human rights violations, multi-national, multi-disciplinary forensic teams developed a sophisticated system for the examination of human remains and set a precedent for future investigations. Codifying this process, Skeletal Trauma: Identification of Injuries Resulting from Human Rights Abuse and Armed Conflict describes an epidemiological framework for collecting, analyzing, and interpreting evidence for use at trial. It pieces together fragments of skeletal tissue and associated physical evidence to determine a mechanism of trauma that is factually based, methodologically scripted, and scientifically interpreted. 

    Providing a contextual background, the opening chapter discusses international forensic investigations into Human Rights violations through international tribunals and other emerging judicial systems. The second chapter presents protocols for systemic data collection and methods for the differential diagnosis of wounds to classify and interpret mechanisms of injury. Organized topically, the remaining chapters evaluate blasting injuries, blunt force trauma, skeletal evidence of torture, sharp force trauma, and gunfire injuries. Each chapter discusses wounding mechanisms, wound pathophysiology, relevant legal examples, and case studies.

    Twenty-six leading scholars and practitioners from anthropology, pathology, and forensics contribute their research, cases, photographs, and extensive fieldwork experience to provide 16 representative case studies. Taken from human rights violations, ethnic and armed conflict, and extra-judicial executions throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia, all evidence in the examples is interpreted through an epidemiological model and set in a legal framework. Several of the exemplary studies, including those from the Balkans, have already been presented as evidence in criminal trials.

    An Epidemiological Approach to Forensic Investigations of Violations to International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law
    International Law and Forensics
    An Epidemiological Framework for Trauma Analysis

    Case Study: Estimating War Crimes from the Wounded to Killed Ratio: The Japanese Embassy, C.C. Snow, J. P. Baraybar, and H. Spirer

    Differential Diagnosis of Skeletal Trauma
    Reconstructing Skeletal Fractures to Identify Trauma
    The Anthroposcopic Examination of Skeletal Injuries
    Ruling Out Skeletal Variation and Skeletal Pathology
    Classification of Fractures and the Mechanisms of Injury
    The Microscopic Examination of Skeletal Tissue
    The Timing of Fracture Based on Gross Inspection
    Diagnosis of Injuries without Evidence of a Defect
    Radiography and Three-dimensional Imaging               
    The Usefulness of Clothing as Evidence
    Case Study: Finite Element Models of the Human Head in the Field of Forensic Science, J.S. Raul, B. Ludes, and R. Willinger
    Blasting Injuries
    Explosive Ordnance Devices
    Pathophysiology of Blast Injuries
    The Context:  Fatal Environment and Intent
    Differential Diagnosis of Fragmented Blast from Gunfire Injuries
    Case Study: Skeletal and Soft Tissue Injuries Resulting from a Grenade, A.B. Seneviratne
    Case Study: A Case of Blasting Injury from Colombia, J.M. Pachon
    Case Study: “Human Bomb” and Body Trauma, A. Samarasekera
    Blunt Force Trauma
    The Pathophysiology of Blunt Force Injury
    Establishing the Number and Sequence of Injuries
    Cranial v. Post-Cranial Variation
    Blunt Force Injury Associated with Gunfire Injury
                                    Case Study: The Interpretation of Skeletal Trauma Resulting from Injuries Sustained Prior To, and as a Direct Result of Freefall, O. Finegan
    Case Study: A Khmer Rouge Execution Method:  Evidence from Choeung Ek, S.C. Ta'ala, G.E. Berg, and K. Haden
    Skeletal Evidence of Torture
    Documented Cases of Torture in Skeletal Remains from Kosovo and Peru
    Differential Diagnosis of Blunt Force Trauma Resulting from Torture, Accidents, and Non-Accidental Mechanisms
    Case Study: Torture Sequels to the Skeleton, H.P. Hougen
    Case Study: Multiple Healed Rib Fractures: Timing of Injuries with Regard to Death, T. Delabarde
    Case Study: Dating of Fractures in Human Dry Bone Tissue: The Berisha Case, G.J.R. Maat
    Case Study: Torture and Extra-Judicial Execution in the Peruvian Highlands: Forensic Investigation in a Military Base, J.P. Baraybar, C.R. Cardoza, and V. Parodi
    Sharp Force Trauma
    Mechanisms of Sharp Force Wounds on Bone
    Identifying Sharp Injuries
    Sharp-Blunt Injury Associated with Chopping Weapons
    Case Study: Disappearance, Torture and Murder of Nine Individuals in a Community of Nebaj, Guatemala, S.C. Chacón, F. A. Peccerelli, L. Paiz Diez, and C. Rivera Fernández
    Case Study: Probable Machete Trauma from the Cambodian Killing Fields, G.E. Berg
    Gunfire Injuries
    The Pathophysiology of Gunfire Injury to Bone
    Estimating the Class of Weapon and Ammunition
    Differentiating Entry from Exit Defects on Bone
    Establishing Bullet Trajectory
    Range of Fire
    Estimating the Number of Injuries
    Sequencing Multiple Gunfire Injuries
    Case Study:  Firearm Basics, C.J. Waters
    Variation in Gunfire Wounds by Skeletal Region
    The Skull
    The Thorax
    The Limbs
    Case Study:  Tyranny and Torture in the Republic of Panama, A.H. Ross and L. Suarez S.
    Case Study: The Pacific War: A Chilean Soldier Found in Cerro Zig Zag, Peru, E. Tomasto Cagigao, and M. Lund


    Erin H. Kimmerle, Jose Pablo Baraybar

    " The authors provide a comprehensive synthesis of skeletal trauma analysis. The presentation of case studies by practitioners with a wealth of experience in the analysis of human skeletal trauma from various countries (particularly those not typically represented in the English language journals), is a major contribution to the disciplines of forensic anthropology and pathology. There is good emphasis on the contextual background and its importance in evaluating findings. This reliance is at the same time a potential weakness, which those practicing in ordinary domestic environments recognize only too well. The evaluation of future events, hitherto hidden in the conduct of war or internal violence, will be substantially advanced by the existence of this book. The authors are to be congratulated and thanked for their work."
    -- Professor Stephen Cordner, MA, MB, BS, BMedSc FRCPath, FRCPA, DMJ DipCrim. Stephen Cordner is the foundation Professor of Forensic Medicine at Monash University and Director of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, Australia

    “The publication of this book, which is borne from solid research and extensive practice in the field, is as timely as it is necessary.  It is set to become a guiding tool for forensic scientists, human rights activists, and humanitarian workers committed to giving a truthful voice to the dead.”
    --From the foreword by Morris Tidball-Binz M.D., Forensic Coordinator, International Committee of the Red Cross, Geneva, Switzerland

    “ …use by forensic practitioners and prosecution and defense lawyers will ensure the maximum exploitation of human remains for the purposes of proof in both domestic and international criminal prosecutions.”
    --From the foreword by Andrew T. Cayley, J.D., Senior Prosecuting Counsel, International Criminal Court and Former Senior Trial Attorney, International Criminal Tribunal, the former Yugoslavia Republic

    “Timely, detailed and authoritative, Kimmerle and Baraybar’s volume on skeletal trauma in contexts of human rights abuses and armed conflict is a “must have” for forensic anthropologists – student and practitioner alike. Others with interests ranging from physical anthropology to human right should also find the work sufficiently non-technical for their needs.”
    --Lisa Leppo, Ph.D., US Army Mortuary Affairs Center

    “… the most detailed and systematic treatment of skeletal trauma I have read. … a key resource for anyone investigating skeletal trauma.”
    --Douglas H. Ubelaker, Ph.D., Curator, Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

    “In this book, detailed descriptions and photographs of trauma are complimented by case studies demonstrating the application of trauma analysis to human rights investigations.  Forensic anthropologists involved in human rights work, as well as students and specialists in other medicolegal fields will find this book to be a useful resource and guide to interpreting trauma in the forensic context.”
    --John Verano, Ph.D., Department of Anthropology, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana

    “Skeletal Trauma:  Identification of Injuries Resulting from Human Rights Abuse and Armed Conflict  is a remarkable text that gives an in-depth accounting of the scientific approach used in the mortuary to investigate and document human rights abuses.  This well-researched manuscript offers an epidemiological approach to discriminate war casualty from acts of genocide and the methods to scientifically document skeletal trauma from potential causes including torture, gunshot injury, blast force injury, and blunt and sharp force trauma.  Emphasized are the flexibility and rigorousness needed in human rights investigations where optimal laboratory and mortuary conditions are rarely obtainable.  The authors have many years of experience in establishing mortuary and field recovery operations that have withstood the rigors of court readiness thus establishing them as true authorities on this subject matter.  They have compiled contributions from twenty-six specialists in forensic anthropology, forensic pathology, criminalistics, and legal medicine who themselves are at the forefront of International human rights investigations.  This text will serve as a reference for the audience member seeking to establish or interact with human rights investigations.  The comprehensive review of trauma interpretation from the skeleton ensures that this volume will be adopted in the classroom and used by the professional as the exemplary text on skeletal trauma.”
    -- Dana Austin, Ph.D., Diplomate, American Board of Forensic Anthropology Senior Forensic Anthropologist, Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District, Fort Worth, Texas

     …" a well-referenced, well-organized text … an excellent pictorial guide illustrating each type of trauma encountered in skeletal analysis and demonstrating a systematic method to adequately document and interpret skeletal trauma. … The case studies provide a realistic view of the difficulties facing an anthropologist working in subpar conditions and within an emotionally charged environment. … The text is a valuable resource for both forensic anthropology students, as well as seasoned practitioners."

    —J.C. Love, Harris Country Medical Examiner’s Office, Houston, Texas, writing in Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology


    <qu>" … this book is interesting, is highly pertinent in today’s socio-political climate, and is a noble effort to be applauded.

    <source>—Tim Thompson, School of Science & Technology, University of Teesside