Jaymelee Kim

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Findlay, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10469

Approve Date

April 6, 2023

Project Title

Kim, Jaymelee (Findlay, U. of) "Forensic Science Cultures: Beliefs, Perceptions, and Pursuits of Victim Identification in Post-War Uganda"

Starting in the 1980s, nations began to formally pursue exhumation and analysis of human remains for evidence-gathering, identification, and repatriation to survivors. These forensic identification measures are discussed in terms of transitional justice, a model used to provide redress after large-scale human rights violations. So popular are these forensic measures that they have expanded beyond the international legal realm of human rights contexts and given way to forensic humanitarian action, or the identification of victims of other widespread violence, disaster, or diaspora. Practitioners and scholars point to international human rights laws and cite survivors’ ‘right to know’ the fate of the missing; dominant discourses assume identification is a priority of survivors. However, less attention has been paid to why some do not engage in identification. The research proposed here asks why stakeholders may or may not pursue forensic intervention and what factors they consider beyond the ‘right to know.’ Uganda’s 2019 national transitional justice policy and cited interest in forensic identification makes this an ideal context to investigate factors that contribute to decisions about forensic identification. To do this, data is collected from interviews and focus groups of local community leaders, non-governmental organizations (NGO), scientists, and governmental officials in Uganda.