The legal definition of enforced disappearance formulated in the International convention for the protection of all persons from enforced disappearance (ICED) and in the Rome statute for the International criminal court is relatively recent, but the international prohibition of the conduct essentially constituting disappearance has a much longer history. The absence of a legal definition of disappearance for many decades has not prevented international human rights bodies from tackling the phenomenon. They have addressed it as a crosscutting issue combining several human rights violations. Most prominent is the jurisprudence of the UN Human rights committee and European court of human rights. On the basis of the classical human rights approach, these two bodies have developed a remarkable case-law which, no doubt, contributed to the general acceptance of disappearance as a crime under customary international law by the end of 1990s and paved the way for the adoption of the ICED. This article analyses these two bodies case-law, identifying the convergence and divergences in the results.