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What we are missing about the Missing; searching for the disappeared victims of armed conflict by Dr Derek Congram

  • Seminar Room G, Manor Road Building, Manor Road Oxford OX1 3UQ (map)

A light sandwich lunch is provided for seminar participants at 12:50.

One of the aspects of the changing character of war is an increased awareness of and attention to those who go missing due to armed conflict. Governments are recognizing – or being pushed to recognize – their obligations under international law to investigate and resolve questions of those who have gone missing, presumed to be dead. Ironically, governments are often also responsible for these people having gone missing in the first place. Part of this culture change surrounding missing persons is provoked by advances in knowledge and technology that enable the discovery of clandestine or anonymous graves and the identification of human remains. This presentation will discuss changing norms and competing frameworks that surround the search for the missing, making reference to the work of the International Criminal Court and the International Committee of the Red Cross. I will also speak to the implications of this work for post-conflict justice in Colombia.

Derek Congram is a Research Associate in the Global Justice Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, Canada. He has a Ph.D. in Archaeology, with a focus on bioarchaeology (the analysis of skeletal remains in archaeological contexts). He has worked as a forensic anthropologist since 1999 in 20 countries for organizations including the United Nations, International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Criminal Court, the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, and the United States Departments of Justice and Defense. His primary research interest is using Geographic Information Systems-based spatial analysis and modelling of victim burial sites in conflict contexts. His other interests include professional ethics, Spanish Civil War bioarchaeology, and transitional justice, particularly from the perspective of marginalized communities