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ICRC receives award for contributions to humanitarian forensic sciences

14-09-2011 News Release 11/188

Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is to receive the inaugural prize for the development and promotion of humanitarian forensic sciences from the International Association of Forensic Sciences (IAFS).

The prize will be awarded today at the opening ceremony of the 19th World Meeting of the IAFS in Madeira, Portugal. The meeting is expected to attract more than 1,600 forensic practitioners from over 100 countries.

"The IAFS has decided to award the ICRC a special prize in recognition of the organization's contribution to the development and promotion of applied forensic sciences worldwide," said Prof. Duarte Nuno Vieira, president of the Portuguese National Institute of Legal Medicine and also president of the IAFS.

"Over the last few years, the ICRC has pioneered what we call 'humanitarian forensic sciences,' that is to say, the use of forensic sciences to help address the needs of victims of armed conflict and natural disaster, and not just those of criminal investigation and justice," said Dr Morris Tidball-Binz, the head of the ICRC's forensics team. "Having a credible confirmation of a relative's death and knowing that the remains have been, or can be, treated with dignity contributes to the healing process of families and entire communities."

The ICRC offers guidelines and trains local experts and in certain instances also performs hands-on exhumations. The organization's forensic unit, which was created in 2003, employs 12 staff.

For further information, please contact:
Bijan Farnoudi, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 21 80 or +41 79 536 92 59