Management of the dead from Islamic law and international humanitarian law perspectives: Considerations for humanitarian forensics

08 November 2018 Ahmed Al-Dawoody

This article discusses a number of contemporary issues and challenges pertinent to the management of the dead in contemporary armed conflicts and other situations of violence and natural disasters under Islamic law and international humanitarian law. Among the issues and challenges faced by forensic specialists in Muslim contexts at present are collective burial, quick burial of dead bodies, exhumation of human remains, autopsy, burial at sea, and handling of the bodies by the opposite sex. The article concludes that both legal systems have developed rules which aim at the protection of the dignity and respect of dead bodies, and that they complement each other to achieve this protection in specific Muslim contexts. The main objectives of this article are twofold: firstly, to give an overview of the Islamic law position on these specific questions and challenges, in order to, secondly, provide some advice or insight into how forensic specialists can deal with them.

About the author

Ahmed Al-Dawoody
ICRC

Dr Ahmed Al-Dawoody, born in Egypt, is the Legal Adviser for Islamic Law and Jurisprudence at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Prior to joining the ICRC, he was an Assistant Professor in Islamic Studies and Islamic law at Al-Azhar University in Cairo. He also taught in the United States, UK, UAE and Switzerland. He has published many articles, including on the relation between Islamic law and IHL, and is the author of The Islamic Law of War: Justifications and Regulations (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).