Patterns of Peri-Mortem Trauma in Skeletons Recovered From Mass Graves from the Spanish Civil War (1936–9)

Authored by: Luis Ríos , Almudena García-Rubio , Berta Martínez , Lourdes Herrasti , Francisco Etxeberria

The Routledge Handbook of the Bioarchaeology of Human Conflict

Print publication date:  November  2013
Online publication date:  December  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415842198
eBook ISBN: 9781315883366
Adobe ISBN: 9781134677979


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During the twentieth century, hundreds of thousands of people have been victims of extrajudicial executions worldwide, in episodes of violence associated with armed conflicts, political repression and ethnic cleansing (Shelton 2005). From the crimes committed during the Second World War, to the political repression in dictatorial regimes in Latin America (e.g. Chile, Argentina, Guatemala) and east Asia (e.g. Cambodia), to the recent conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, central Africa and the Middle East, in most of these cases the victims of the killings have been illegally buried in clandestine mass graves. In this context, we define a mass grave after the definition provided by the United Nations special rapporteur to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) as a location where three or more bodies are buried, victims of extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions, not having died in combat or armed confrontations (ICTY 1996).

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