17th Jan 2018

Basic Orientation on Forensic Exhumation


Three days basic orientation on Forensic Exhumation was organized in Kathmandu and Chitwan for the officials of NHRC, human rights defenders and scene of crime officers of Nepal Police on 23-25 March 2014 and 27-29 March 2014 respectively. The purpose of the orientation was to develop both forensic capabilities and awareness, and to address the long-term sustainability of forensic investigations among the trained individuals and the representing organizations. The orientation will help identify missing people in the context of war crimes, crimes and other human rights violations and those individuals forcibly "disappeared." The orientation was jointly designed and delivered by experts in forensic medicine, archaeology and human rights.

The major objectives of the orientation were to provide the participants basic knowledge and skill on scientific documentation of crime (war) scene and photography, death (in-custody deaths) investigation, evidence collection, exhumation of graves and forensic anthropology/ archeology and that the victims of violations of human rights and/or humanitarian law have a right to justice, the right to know the truth, and to have history recorded accurately.

The enhancement of knowledge and skill to perform forensic exhumation in a right way was considered one of the most valuable impacts of the orientation. The participants claimed that they could now follow proper procedure while doing forensic exhumation while in the past they were completely or partly oblivious to them. Through the orientation, they also realized that psycho-social aspect was an important phenomenon and it concerned everyone. Likewise, the skills they gained and practiced during the practical session was considered lifetime achievement. The participants claimed that after the orientation they felt that they can perform forensic exhumation in a better way taking into account other aspects closely related to exhumation such as psycho-social well-being of the victim's/deceased family. It appeared that the training had also been a bonding experience for the participants, who are working in the same field.

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