Crime Scene Revisited

Faces of the victims recovered from the scene of a genocide.

Faded identification cards recovered from mass graves in northern Iraq show the faces of three of the thousands of people who were killed and buried there. The careful work and documentation that was carried out by the Mass Graves Investigation Team helped in the subsequent conviction of five members of the former dictatorial regime, including Ali Hassan Al-Majid (“Chemical Ali”). Sadam Hussein’s name was dropped from the defendent list after his execution in December 2006. The real end to this story, said David Knoerlein, was the thoughtful repatriation of the victims’ remains. “With respect and dignity, we prepared them for transportation back to their homes and loved ones for proper burial.”

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED:
  May-June 2008 (Volume 6, Number 3)
Evidence Technology Magazine
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Digital-Image Management at Mass Gravesites

SKELETONIZED REMAINS that were carefully unearthed from the desert sands of Iraq tell their own story: the bones of an adult, still dressed in a woman’s apparel, lie supine. The skull is perforated by a bullet hole. Tucked in the space between the ribs and the left humerus is a much smaller skeleton, bones in the skull un-fused, and the fully clothed body partially swaddled in a blanket.

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