The International Committee of the Red Cross and the protection of world war dead
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Forensic science international, Vol. 319, February 2021, 9 p.
Source : https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0379073820305107 (last consulted 08.02.21). Bibliography : p. 9
The first Geneva Conventions were signed in 1864 and this initial effort to put humanity in war has since developed into a network of international conventions and customary rules which include the dead as a group that must be protected during and following armed conflicts. During the First and Second World Wars, parties to the conflict were obliged to recover the dead from battlefields, document identifying marks including the collection of identification discs, and to bury the body in a marked grave. Those parties’ signatory to the laws regulating war at the time, could not have predicted the millions of losses of civilians and combatants resulting in the thousands of casualties left unrecovered at the end of both world wars. The prolonged requirement to recover, identify and bury newly-found World War dead is managed differently by each country; albeit with no universal approach that acknowledges the need to integrate the moral imperative of dignified post-war care of the dead with rapidly changing technology and equally rapidly ageing of families of the missing. The International Committee of the Red Cross is a longtime actor in providing humanitarian service to soldiers and civilians in war. This includes expertise in the legal framework regulating armed conflict, in the provision of a central system to aid in tracing those who go missing during war, including those from the world wars, and in the growing field of humanitarian forensics. This paper will discuss the applicable international frameworks for the protection world war dead, while promoting the ICRC’s role as resource and advocate.
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