In the aftermath of conflict and gross human rights violations, victims have a right to
know what happened to their loved ones. Such a right is compromised if mass graves are not
adequately protected to preserve evidence, facilitate identification and repatriation of
the dead and enable a full and effective investigation to be conducted. Despite guidelines
for investigations of the missing, and legal obligations under international law, it is
not expressly clear how these mass graves are best legally protected and by whom. This
article asks why, to date, there are no unified mass-grave protection guidelines that
could serve as a model for states, authorities or international bodies when faced with
gross human rights violations or armed conflicts resulting in mass graves. The paper
suggests a practical agenda for working towards a more comprehensive set of legal
guidelines to protect mass graves.
, management units, and institutions. Both legislation and a bureaucratic management culture have evolved around work on heritage.
There is extensive literature on the evolution of protection and preservation of remains from the past. This literature is a set of narratives that describe the gradual evolution of protection and preservation, from sporadic initiatives to the present national or internationallaw and conventions. These narratives supply a forward-looking outline of the fight against the threats of various periods. They comprise accounts of the first examples