PHR's International Forensic Program uses forensic science to investigate both mass graves and, sometimes, individual deaths.
PHR Welcomes Confirmation of Charles Taylor’s Sentence (September 26, 2013)
PHR today welcomed the confirmation of a 50-year sentence for former Liberia President Charles Taylor for his role in encouraging rebels in Sierra Leone to commit war crimes and planning some of the attacks during the country’s civil war.
White House Closes Inquiry Into Afghan Massacre – and Will Release No Details (ProPublica, July 31, 2013)
Soon after taking office, President Obama pledged to open a new inquiry into the deaths of perhaps thousands of Taliban prisoners of war at the hands of U.S.-allied Afghan fighters in late 2001. Last month, the White House told ProPublica it was still “looking into” the apparent massacre. Now it says it has concluded its investigation – but won’t make it public.
PHR Responds to White House Comment on Reported Afghan Massacre (July 31, 2013)
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today responded to a White House official’s remarks indicating the conclusion of its investigation into the 2001 incident at Dasht-e-Leili that may have claimed as many as 2,000 lives.
Afghanistan Must Bolster Its Capacity to Identify the Missing, PHR Declares in New Report (April 24, 2013)
A new report by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) released at a conference in Kabul today on “Truth Seeking and the Role of Forensic Science” outlines steps that Afghanistan can take if it is to make progress in addressing the right to truth of victims of more than three decades of violent conflict by identifying missing and disappeared persons.
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PHR Joins Coalition to Arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (March 6, 2013)
Four years ago today, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir, President of Sudan, on seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity including killings, rape, and torture. On July 12, 2010, Bashir was also charged with three counts of genocide.
Colombia: Fair Bernal Porras Case Update (June 19, 2012)
Earlier this month, PHR reported on the issue of “false positives”; civilians who were kidnapped and executed by Colombian military forces with the intent of identifying them as either members of the FARC guerrilla movement or other illegal armed groups. Specifically, we focused on the case of Mr. Fair Bernal Leonardo Porras, a 26-year old builder who was forcibly disappeared from a rural town in northern Colombia. Since that time, the judicial process has continued to move forward.
In 2008, the Colombian government acknowledged the extrajudicial executions of 11 young men from a working class municipality near Bogota. These victims are among those known as “false positives”; civilians who were kidnapped by Colombian military forces with the intent of identifying them as either members of the FARC guerrilla movement or other illegal armed groups. This practice allows the military to inflate the number of enemies they’ve killed.
Despite the failure of the US to ensure equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens, LGBT people around the world still see it as a place where they can live their lives freely and openly, without fear of imprisonment or torture.
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PHR's report outlines steps that Afghanistan can take if it is to make progress in addressing the right to truth of victims of more than three decades of violent conflict by identifying missing and disappeared persons.
The identification and repatriation of individuals killed and “disappeared” during the recent conflict in Libya and the previous regime of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi constitute one of the most urgent challenges facing the interim government of Libya.
Forensic Review of Sergei Magnitsky documents (July 2011)
After reporting an alleged $230 million tax fraud perpetrated by a group of Russian government officials and senior police officers, Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer stationed in Russia for the UK‐based investment firm Hermitage Fund, was arrested and jailed on November 24, 2008. Magnitsky died following 358 days in prison under progressively worsening conditions. PHR's International Forensic Program reviewed documents relating to Magnitsky's death in order to identify key irregularities, inconsistencies or gaps in the medical investigations carried out by the Russian authorities into the cause and manner of his death.
The United States government’s reliance on indefinite detention in both national security and immigration contexts reflects an abdication of its legal and moral responsibility to treat those in its custody humanely, as well as an abdication of its responsibility to protect its military and civilians from retaliation on account of its continued refusal to honor the rule of law.
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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 »