Skip to Main Content
Printer Friendly Home > Justice and Forensic Science > Death Investigations

Death Investigations

PHR's International Forensic Program uses forensic science to investigate both mass graves and, sometimes, individual deaths.

Current Investigations:

PHR Denounces ICC Decision to Vacate Charges Against Kenya’s Deputy President (April 5, 2016)

PHR denounced the decision by the International Criminal Court to declare a mistrial in the case against Kenyan Deputy President William Samoei Ruto and journalist Joshua Arap Sang.

PHR Welcomes Guilty Verdict Against Radovan Karadzic, Key Figure in Bosnia’s Genocide (March 24, 2016)

PHR hailed today’s landmark guilty verdict against former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war. After almost six years of proceedings, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) found the former political leader responsible for some of the worst atrocities in Europe since World War II.

France Opens Investigation into Torture in Syria (October 1, 2015)

PHR today welcomed an announcement that France has opened the world’s first criminal inquiry into torture in Syria.

Kenyatta’s Appearance at the Hague a Welcome Step for Accountability (October 8, 2014)

Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta appeared today at the International Criminal Court (ICC), where he faces charges of crimes against humanity for his role in violence that followed the 2007 election.

More Death Investigations News »
More Justice and Forensic Science News »

Who's Afraid of the ICC? (December 8, 2016)

The rising critique of the ICC is not about bias; it’s about fear. Fear that the court is actually doing its job. Fear that heads of states may actually be held to account for violating human rights, disappearing civilians who protest against them, and occupying neighboring states.

Standing Up for Women and Girls in Afghanistan: PHR and Allies Challenge "Virginity Testing" (September 28, 2016)

Afghan physician Dr. Tamana Asey finds hymen examinations to be "total abuse." She is at the forefront of change on this issue.

Assad, Beware the Long Arm of Justice (April 13, 2016)

As a shaky ceasefire in Syria appears on the verge of collapse, peace talks are set to resume in Geneva this week. It’s a harrowing time for Syrians, made all the worse by the Syrian government continuing to willfully cut off deliveries of food and medicine to civilians.

What Does 2016 Hold for Ukraine? (February 16, 2016)

Nearly two years ago, Ukraine’s winter of revolution was melting into an unsteady spring. As the Ukraine crisis moved into 2015, the Early Warning Project put the formerly stable country in the top 20 on its at-risk countries list.

More Death Investigations Posts »
More Justice and Forensic Science Posts »

Statement on Anal Examinations in Cases of Alleged Homosexuality (May 2016)

The Independent Forensic Expert Group, of which PHR’s Medical Director, Dr. Vincent Iacopino, is a member, released this statement on anal examinations in cases of alleged homosexuality.

Enhancing a Regional Response to Crimes of Sexual Violence (December 2015)

PHR convened a three-day regional roundtable discussion between February 25 and 27, 2015 at the Lukenya Getaway in Athi River, Kenya. This report summarizes major points of discussion from this workshop.

Virginity and Hymen Testing: No Factual, Scientific, or Medical Basis (May 2015)

This forensic brief examines the validity of the use of hymen examinations to determine a women’s “virginity.”

The Crisis in Syria Turns Four (March 2015)

Ahead of the four-year anniversary of the crisis in Syria, Physicians for Human Rights and partner organizations call on permanent members of the UN Security Council to refrain from using their veto power when confronted with a crisis in which civilians are at impending risk of atrocity crimes.

More Death Investigations Research »
More Justice and Forensic Science Research »

Featured Investigation

Sergei Magnitsky, Russia

During his time in Russian police custody, Sergei Magnitsky, a 37-year old Russian anti-corruption lawyer, suffered calculated and deliberate neglect and inhumane treatment which ultimately lead to his death. Read More »

Featured Expert

Stefan Schmitt

Stefan Schmitt, MS

Stefan Schmitt directs PHR’s International Forensic Program. Most recently, Schmitt documented a massacre by Qaddafi forces in Tripoli for Libyan authorities and the International Criminal Court. Subsequently, the authorities asked him to assemble a team of forensic and legal experts to conduct a human identification needs assessment and gap analysis to advise on identifying the dead from Libya’s revolution. Read More »