SSC Seminar Series: George Lovell & Fredy Peccerelli

Location: Stirling Hall 414
12:30 - 2pm

A Dance with the Death Dossier: Complexities and Forensic Identifications of the Guatemalan Military Diary

Fredy Peccerelli, Director, Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala (FAFG), and Chancellor Dunning Trust Lecturer, and George Lovell, Department of Geography, Queen's University

The Death Squad Dossier was founded in 1999, but the intricacies hidden within the codes were not clarified until a fateful coincidence in DNA profiles over a decade later. The document features 183 individuals and includes personal details of each, even suspected insurgency alliances. Many of these people were strategically disappeared and silenced by the Guatemalan State in the 1980s, leaving their families to suffer the ambiguous loss from the permanent crime of their disappearance. These cases extend our understanding of violence through time and space through the discovery and excavation of clandestine graves, thus illuminating strategies and disproportionate responses executed by successive military governments. This presentation will explore the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala’s (FAFG’s) application of forensic sciences and the Multidisciplinary Human Identification System in the search for the disappeared, using examples from the case and Identifications from the Military Diary.

The FAFG utilizes interdisciplinary methods from criminology, social anthropology, forensic anthropology, archaeology, and forensic genetics. The founding of the FAFG was an answer to the request of family members to uncover hidden truths. It works to identify the disappeared, promote justice, and clarify history. Unearthing the truth, recovering the remains of families' loved one(s), and re-burying them with dignity in accordance to cultural traditions brings real impact to the lives of the families and generates progress towards transitional justice. Evidence and expert forensic reports are often admitted in trials, including the historic Ríos Montt Genocide Trial before the National Courts of Guatemala in 2013.

Everyone welcome!