Tuesday, 10 January 2012

NPIA - Family Liaison Officer Guidance 2008

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ACPO - Guidance on Disaster Victim Identification 2011 [document]

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INTERPOL Aids in Identifying “Sendong” Victims

After the rampage of typhoon “Sendong” in Northern Mindanao, thousands of lives was lost and million worth of properties were devastated. Unidentified dead bodies, mostly of mothers and children are left unclaimed and a decent burial is remained questionable.

The Philippine and National Police in its full effort, helps to identify the hundred recovered bodies. Police Chief Superintendent Lorlie Arroyo, Director of PNP Crime Laboratory admitted the victim identification was a tedious task and takes time as authorities wants to ensure efficiency.

The INTERPOL General Secretariat (IPSG) offered additional assistance in Disaster Victim Identification (DVI). DVI is the scientific procedure which involved DNA profiling, fingerprint and dental comparison to obtain conclusive identifications. It takes considerable time to reach possible identification for each victim which heavily depends on the accessibility, quality and availability of relevant supporting evidence and the processing of forensic samples.

In a Letter sent from Ret. Police Director Felizardo M Serapio Jr., Head of INTERPOL Manila, he requested support from the PNP as needed for immediate and accurate completion of victims identification. “The PNP will extend our assistance as our response to the request of INTERPOL. We are heading to a speedy identification process, enabling the victims to recover and to rebuild their lives” said PNP Chief, PDGen Nicanor A Bartolome.

Written by PNP Public Information Office Wednesday, 04 January 2012 11:29


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Balloon crash investigations continue

Police and partner agencies are continuing their investigations into the fatal hot air balloon crash in Somerset Road, Carterton yesterday morning.

Wairarapa Area Commander Inspector Brent Register says Police Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) and Specialist Search Group (SSG) members remain at the scene of the crash today, alongside New Zealand Fire Service personnel.

"Last night, two of the eleven bodies were removed from the scene. We are working towards removing the bodies of the other nine victims over the course of the afternoon."

Inspector Register says support is continuing to be provided to the families of the victims, as they come to terms with the loss of their loved ones as a result of this tragedy. Some families have also visited the scene of the crash with Police staff.

"We are still working with Next of Kin this morning and hope to be able to release a complete list of those believed to be deceased later this afternoon."

Inspector Register says the DVI process to formally identify all of the eleven victims will take several days to complete.

"We are continuing to work with our partner agencies, the Transport Accident Investigation Commission, Civil Aviation Authority, the New Zealand Fire Service, Department of Labour, the Coroner's office and Victim Support, to ascertain how this fatal crash occurred."

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission's enquiry will determine the cause of the crash. The CAA is looking at occupational safety and health and regulatory matters. The NZ Fire Service is providing expertise to the investigations. Victim Support are assisting the Police Family Liaison Team and providing assistance to the families of the deceased. The Police DVI Team is supporting the Coroner, who will confirm identity and cause of death of the deceased.

Inspector Register says eye witnesses have been formally interviewed and Police are now working with partner agencies to share information which will aid in the investigation.

"This is not a quick process and will take some time to complete, to ensure we complete a thorough investigation into how this tragedy occurred and ensure incidents of this nature do not reoccur in the future."

Sunday, 8 January, 2012 - 12:12


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Libyan plan to trace mass graves and missing people

As Libyans celebrate the fall of Muammar Gaddafi following his death last week, the country's transitional government has already set up a commission that it says will ensure the transparent and orderly exhumation and identification of bodies from mass graves.

"It will take a few months to work out the number of people missing," says Salim Al-Serjani, vice-president of the newly formed National Commission for Tracing and Identifying Missing Persons.

Speaking to New Scientist from Libya's capital Tripoli, he said that 4000 to 5000 people went missing during the 42 years of Gaddafi's dictatorship, on a crude estimate, and around 20,000 to 25,000 more are thought to have gone missing in the nine-month conflict that ended last week. "The old regime didn't like to give out any information, so it will take a while to know more exact figures," he said.
Outside help

Al-Serjani said that Libya's National Transitional Council has already been working with organisations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross to get Libyans trained to do exhumations properly. "We've already had people trained by outside experts on how to deal with mass graves to avoid misidentifications and collect and store ante-mortem data," he said. "We're training our team how to take and handle DNA samples from corpses, and how to take GPS readings for each new grave."

Al-Serjani also acknowledged the importance of leaving exhumations to experts and of not disturbing evidence vital for identification of remains, as urged last month by the Red Cross and the International Commission on Missing Persons in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was set up to investigate mass graves following the Balkan conflict of the 1990s. He said that the National Transitional Council has used radio bulletins and newspaper reports to urge former rebels not to disturb or despoil newly found graves.

Al-Serjani said that Libya's new commission for identifying missing persons would remain neutral on the subject of criminal prosecutions, leaving investigations of possible war crimes to international bodies such as Human Rights Watch. The reason: to ensure justice for the dead on all sides of the conflict. For example, the bodies of 53 executed Gaddafi supporters have been discovered in Sirte. "Regarding criminal justice and human rights, we're trying to be neutral," Al-Serjani says. "The idea is that we are completely transparent."

So far, the largest mass grave identified contains an estimated 1270 bodies close to the Abu Salim prison in Tripoli. Inmates protesting about prison conditions were massacred there in June 1996, according to Human Rights Watch. The Red Cross has helped in the orderly identification of 125 buried victims of the recent fighting from 12 locations around the country.

Soaade Messoudi, a spokeswoman in Tripoli for the International Committee of the Red Cross, told New Scientist that the organisation has set up a confidential database to accept reports from family members of mass graves, missing people, arrests and detentions.
Crime scenes

Outside observers, including the International Commission on Missing Persons, say it's important to record any information from mass graves that might later be useful as evidence in criminal investigations.

"Each site should be treated as if it's a crime scene, and you must presume there might be criminal investigations in the future," says Ian Hanson, a forensic archaeologist at Bournemouth University, UK, and a veteran adviser on the exhumation procedures that followed the Balkan and Iraq conflicts.

Hanson says that creation 15 years ago of the International Commission on Missing Persons in the Balkans was the first systematic effort to document evidence from mass graves properly and identify remains. So far, about 17,000 bodies have been identified of the estimated 30,000 who went missing during the Balkan conflict, mainly in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Around 20,000 bone samples and 80,000 blood samples have been taken since 1996, he says.

In Iraq, where Hanson says at least 300,000 went missing during the rule of Saddam Hussein, a law was introduced in 2006 to protect mass graves. At present, around 2000 to 4000 Iraqi cases are being resolved each year, and Hanson says it will be decades before all the country's "missing" are identified.

This piece has been altered from an earlier version which mistakenly stated that the ICRC would make contents of its database available to the new authorities.

Updated 18:15 26 October 2011 by Andy Coghlan


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22nd Congress of the International Academy of Legal Medicine

The 22nd Congress of the International Academy of Legal Medicine will be held in Istanbul (Turkey) from 5 to 8 July 2012.

The congress will be an excellent opportunity to learn about the latest doctrinal, scientific, and technological advances in legal medicine and forensic sciences with its workshops, advanced courses, seminars, panels and lectures as well as oral and poster presentations. The most prestigious professionals from the international forensic community will contribute and be a part of this important scientific event.

For details see: http://www.ialm2012.org/

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9th International Course in Forensic Odontology, Oslo, Norway

The International Organisation for Forensic Odonto-Stomatology (IOFOS) and the Nordic Organization for Forensic Odonto-Stomatology (NOFOS) in cooperation with the Institute of Oral Biology, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Oslo, Norway, invite you to a course in personal identification, with special emphasis on dental methods held on 25-30 June 2012 at the Institute of Oral Biology, Domus Odontologica, Rikshospitalet, Gaustad, Oslo Oslo, Norway.

Aim of the course:
• to enable the dentist to perform post mortem dental examination and comparison between  ante-mortem and post mortem information in single cases as well as in mass disasters
• to enable the dentist to participate in the reconstruction of the identity of a person when comparative identification is not possible
• to enable the dentist to participate in a DVI team after a mass disaster
• to introduce computerized identification programmes


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18th Nordic Conference on Forensic Medicine

It is a great pleasure for The Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Health, Aarhus University and the Danish Society of Forensic Medicine to invite you to participate in the 18th Nordic Conference on Forensic Medicine, which will takes place in Aarhus, Denmark, on 13-16 June, 2012.

The theme of the Conference is “New Techniques and Progress in Forensic Medicine”. It will cover a variety of different topics in Forensic Medicine with internationally renowned experts with in the field giving lectures.
Furthermore we intend to offer preconference workshops on topics as Education, Disaster Victim Identification, Forensic Anthropology and Forensic Epidemiology.

For details see: http://retsmedicin.au.dk/nordic-conference-2012/welcome/

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EAFSC Forensic Science Conference 20-24 August 2012

The Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) takes pride in announcing that the 6th European Academy of Forensic Science Conference will be held in The Hague, the International City of Peace and Justice, from 20 to 24 August 2012. The title of the conference reflects the momentum of forensic sciences: Towards Forensic Science 2.0.

For details:  http://www.eafs2012.eu/home.html

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