Bosnia's Million Bones: Solving the World's Greatest Forensic Puzzle

Bosnia's Million Bones: Solving the World's Greatest Forensic Puzzle

Hardback

By (author) Christian Jennings

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  • Publisher: Palgrave MacMillan
  • Format: Hardback | 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 156mm x 238mm x 28mm | 460g
  • Publication date: 26 November 2013
  • Publication City/Country: Basingstoke
  • ISBN 10: 1137278684
  • ISBN 13: 9781137278685
  • Illustrations note: b&w 8-page insert
  • Sales rank: 330,961

Product description

The extraordinary story of how a team of international forensic scientists pioneered ground-breaking DNA technology to identify the bodies of thousands of victims of the Yugoslav Wars, and how their work is now giving justice to families from Iraq to Bosnia What it would be like to be tasked with finding, exhuming from dozens of mass graves, and then identifying the mangled body-parts of an estimated 8,100 victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in eastern Bosnia? A leading forensic scientist likened it to "solving the world's greatest forensic science puzzle," and in 1999 one DNA laboratory, run by the International Commission on Missing Persons in Sarajevo, decided to do just that. Thirteen years on, the ICMP are the international leaders in using DNA-assisted technology to assist in identifying the thousands of persons worldwide missing from wars, mass human-rights abuses and natural disasters. Christian Jennings, a foreign correspondent and former staffer at the ICMP, tells the story of the organization, and how they are now gatheringforensic evidence ofthose killed in Libya and Iraq,and tracing the victims of brutal regimes in Chile and Colombia.He describes too how they helped identify the victims of Hurricane Katrina and theIndian Oceantsunami, in this moving and fast-paced story about the power of science to bring justice to broken countries. Now usedas evidence at war crimes trials in The Hague,the technology described in Bosnia's Million Bones is an amazing story of modern science, politics,and the quest for truth. It is real-life CSI in action.

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Author information

Christian Jennings is an investigative journalist who has written for Wired,The Economist and Reuters, among others, from countries including Rwanda, Kosovo, Somalia, Burundi and Bosnia. He is the former Communications Director at the ICMP, the international forensic science organization, founded by Bill Clinton,that uses advanced DNA technology to identify persons missing from conflicts worldwide. He has also been investigating and covering the hunt for Ratko Mladic and other major war-criminals in the Balkans since 1999, and splits his time between Sarajevo, Bosnia and Turin, Italy.

Review quote

'Bosnia's Million Bones tells the story of how innovative DNA forensic science solved the grisly conundrum of identifying each bone [from the Srebrenica massacre] so that grieving families might find some closure. This is an important book: it illustrates the unspeakable horrors of a complex war whose causes have always been hard for outsiders to comprehend. The author, a British journalist, has the advantage of on-the-ground knowledge of the war...the story needs to be told...and those who make it through will emerge shaken, and educated' - Nature "The International Commission on Missing Persons' work done with DNA is, without doubt, the single most important achievement within the field of human identification with DNA. The story of their very important, almost incredible, work must be told to the world. In this necessary book, foreign correspondent Christian Jennings has done just that. This book makes a difference." - Professor Niels Morling, Vice-President of the International Society for Forensic Genetics 'A precisely rendered, gruelling account of how the 1995 Srebrenica massacre propelled a scientific revolution in missing persons identification. An inspirational but disturbing story of science as counterweight to evil - not for the squeamish.' - Kirkus Reviews "A terrific piece of work: an important story which is told compellingly but soberly.' Edward Stourton, BBC broadcaster 'Christian Jennings is a lucid and compassionate writer. His research, attention to detail, and storytelling skills make Bosnia's Million Bones an engrossing exploration of the techniques that forensic scientists use to unravel the crimes of war and bring those responsible to justice. This book is a poignant tribute to every parent who has moved heaven and earth to find his or her disappeared child-and to the scientists who have come to their aid.' - Eric Stover, author of The Witnesses: War Crimes and the Promise of Justice in The Hague and Faculty Director, The Human Rights Center, UC Berkeley, School of Law "Jennings brings to light the horror of ethnic cleansing, and stunningly renders both the exhuming and testing of the bodies, and attempts by crack forensics teams to identify the victims." Publishers Week 'Until now, the issue of the millions of persons missing due to armed conflict and human rights abuses has been a silent one. When people disappear, particularly through violent crimes by state authorities, family members left behind are often terrified to seek answers about the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones. ICMP has helped end that silence. This important and timely book on the groundbreaking efforts of ICMP demonstrates that the missing can be located and those responsible brought to account." Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan

Table of contents

Chapter One: How Does a Country Recover After a Genocide? Chapter Two: Separating the Men from the Women and Children Chapter Three: How the Killers Tried to Hide the Evidence Chapter Four: Digging up the Evidence of Mass Murder Chapter Five: First Stop - DNA Chapter Six: Building a Human Identification System Chapter Seven: The Wind of Change in Serbia Chapter Eight: The World of the Missing, Post-9/11 Chapter Nine: The Dead of World War II Chapter Ten: Rule of Law, Not Rule of War Chapter Eleven: Ratko Mladic's Last Request - Fresh Strawberries and Tolstoy Chapter Twelve: From Srebrenica to Kurdistan, Brazzaville and Libya