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Photographs of more than 600 Sudanese children separated from parents displayed at an International Red Cross (ICRC) site in Abu Shouk, North Darfur, June 25, 2005. The ICRC hopes by showing photographs throughout Darfur families could be reunited. Image: Courtesy of Ron Haviv, VII


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Investigating War Crimes: Finding the Missing

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Photographs of more than 600 Sudanese children separated from parents displayed at an International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) site in Abu Shouk, North Darfur, 2005. The ICRC hopes by showing photographs throughout Darfur families could be reunited. Image: Courtesy of Ron Haviv, VII

Editor’s Note: The end of this post also features a special focus interview by Olivier Holmey with investigative journalist Pascale Bonnefoy Miralles, who has extensively covered the almost 1,500 people disappeared during the 17-year reign of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Yasmen Almashan’s torment finally ended three years after one of her brothers, Okba, disappeared from Deir el-Zour, their hometown in southeast Syria. His tortured corpse was among thousands photographed inside the prisons of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, the images posted online by a sympathetic forensic photographer.

Discovering what happened to her brother brought some relief to Almashan. But during the wait, she lost everything. Another brother went missing and was believed to have been kidnapped by armed militias; three others were killed in the violence. In total, Almashan lost five of her six brothers.

Nearly a decade later, Almashan is a refugee, living with surviving family members in Europe and still searching for the brother, Bashar, who was kidnapped. The killers of two of her brothers, meanwhile, have not been identified. The international community is still debating how to treat Syria’s tens of thousands of missing.

“It is normal for pain to ease after years of waiting,” Almashan said, and finding evidence of what happened to Okba was a “painkiller.”

Her resolve to seek the truth and justice is unwavering. “Hope is a motivation. Little achievements are a motivation. What the Syrians generally are suffering is a motivation,” she says. “But I will not be silenced or quieted until we realize justice for them all.”

Defining the Missing

Hundreds of thousands of people around the globe go missing because of war, conflict, migration, mass displacement, natural disasters, and organized crime.

Armed conflicts are often the prime reason for civilians and fighters going missing. Civilians and combatants can disappear on the battleground or on front lines due to the fighting. People disappear in government crackdowns on dissent, often with the aim of spreading terror, as well as during government-led campaigns on organized crime or against armed groups. Others are dragged from their homes, often by plainclothes agents under the cover of darkness, and are never heard from again. Displacement caused by the fighting and abductions can lead to children being separated from their parents, severing family ties and destroying cultures. The disappearance is often accompanied by other crimes, such as torture, sexual violence, or summary trials and executions. Armed conflict generally can also cause people to voluntarily flee, as a direct or indirect consequence of violence, and this displacement enhances the likelihood of people going missing.

war crimes finding missing tahrir square cairo egypt

Shadja Abu Zeidi (left), whose 14 year old son is missing, is seen during the “Day of Departure” protest, as Mohammed Said Ali cries after asking about where his 16-year-old missing son is, in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, 2011. Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians gathered in Tahrir Square during the Arab Spring uprising, praying, chanting slogans, and waving flags in a chiefly peaceful demonstration for the expulsion of President Hosni Mubarak. Image: Courtesy of Ron Haviv, VII

Syria is believed to have the largest active number of people missing, most of them disappeared by government agents, militias, and armed groups. According to one United Nations estimate, 100,000 people are still missing since anti-government protests erupted in Syria in 2011 and ignited a civil war that has lasted more than a decade.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), a key resource for relatives of victims of the missing in conflicts worldwide, said in 2022 that the number of cases of the missing it had registered worldwide increased by 80% over the previous five years to 180,000.

Still, the real number of the missing is likely much higher. Active armed conflict rages throughout the world (with 54 state-based conflicts recorded in 2021 before Russia’s war on Ukraine began and a more than 50% increase in non-state conflicts between 2012 and 2021, mostly in Africa and Latin America), which makes registering and documenting the missing even more difficult, complicated by lack of access, survivors fearful of speaking out, and continued violence.

The problem of the missing is compounded by the number of people fleeing their homes, which increases year on year, with the hundreds of unidentified bodies washing up on European shores every month a grim testament to this trend. In all, there were 281 million migrants worldwide in 2020, most of them from India, Mexico, Russia, China, and Syria.

Although for the families missing their loved ones the agony may be the same, for the purposes of investigating the missing, it can be useful to understand the legal distinctions between different groups.

  • Enforced disappearances, whereby a state (or other actor) uses force to deprive a person of their liberty and conceals or refuses to acknowledge their whereabouts. This is a direct violation of international human rights law. Enforced disappearances also violate, or threaten to violate, certain rules under international humanitarian law, and could constitute war crimes. If committed on a widespread or systematic scale, these acts can also constitute crimes against humanity (see this guide’s chapter on genocide and crimes against humanity). In Syria’s case, human rights groups have called the cases of the tens of thousands of disappeared a potential crime against humanity.
  • Other people missing due to armed conflict are not necessarily related to war crimes or other violations of international law. This can occur because families fleeing the violence of conflict are separated, or because communication and record-keeping breaks down due to lack of adequate infrastructure. Regardless of how the disappearance occurs, states have certain obligations under international humanitarian law to account for the missing, which includes tracking the fate of missing persons, setting up systems to centralize information of those in custody, allowing prisoners of war to communicate with their loved ones, and accounting for the dead, including marking the location of graves.

Finding the missing is therefore not just a humanitarian issue. International human rights law has developed many detailed provisions to prevent and account for the disappeared in and outside of armed conflict, and different UN and regional treaties and mechanisms exist to monitor the issue.

Kathryne Bomberger, director general of the International Commission on Missing Persons, says “I think it’s high time that journalists start looking at this as a human rights issue and one in which the rights of surviving families of the missing must be secured.”

Both international humanitarian law and international human rights law require investigations into possible serious violations. In the case of alleged forced disappearances, states must carry out official and effective investigations into the fate and whereabouts of missing persons and the circumstances of their disappearance, regardless of the ethnic, religious, or national background of missing persons, or their roles in violent conflicts or human rights abuses. Under international human rights law, states must investigate the missing across a wide variety of circumstances, including those who went missing or are suspected to have died at sea. In this way, journalists should question the systematic failure of states, especially if their actions suggest discriminatory patterns or double standards towards migrants or other groups of people, such as ethnic or religious minorities. It is the responsibility of the state, Bomberger says, to investigate disappearances of persons within their territory or jurisdiction.

Journalism’s Role in Investigating the Missing

It is an agonizing journey for the families of what the ICRC had called the “hidden tragedy.” And like investigators and prosecutors, journalists have played an important role working with families and activists to shed light on cases of the missing and disappeared, sometimes revealing details about perpetrators, and at times resulting in families being reunited.

Journalists in Sri Lanka, the Balkans, Argentina, and Lebanon have played a leading role in highlighting the importance of establishing the truth, identifying perpetrators, and seeking accountability for enforced disappearances. The search for accountability often continues for decades after the crimes were committed.

war crimes finding missing Tamil family flee Sri Lanka

A Tamil family fearing abduction seeks shelter in a safe house in Sri Lanka, 2007. Image: Courtesy of Ron Haviv, VII

Obviously, in the case of enforced disappearances, perpetrators go to great lengths to deliberately obscure and often weaponize the issue. In Syria, it is estimated that most of the missing have disappeared in government detention facilities, at checkpoints, or in hastily organized burials during fighting. But so too have people disappeared in detention facilities operated by armed groups and in mass shootings by militias, including one of the world’s most brutal groups, the so-called Islamic State and its affiliates. The Syrian government has denied holding any political prisoners and failed to reveal public records of those it is detaining, despite widespread testimony and evidence of facilities overflowing with inmates. Investigations into prison conditions and government registry updates of deaths years later challenged the government’s denial and led to UN calls for a solution to the prisoners’ fate.

In Myanmar, thousands, including children, have been arbitrarily arrested, disappeared, or killed in a crackdown on anti-government protests. In Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and other sub-Saharan African nations, thousands have disappeared in civil wars or bandits’ attacks and kidnappings. (In Nigeria alone, where kidnapping by bandits and rival tribal militias is rife, 25,000 people are reported missing, more than half of them children.)

In some cases, authorities may discredit testimonies of survivors for political, ethnic, gender, or social reasons. Reporting a missing woman is stigmatized in some societies, as sexual violence and assault often accompany an abduction — so reporting a missing woman suggests the woman has been sexually violated. In both peacetime and war, the disappearance and murder of Indigenous people has gone largely ignored and unreported. Those missing on the migration routes, many of whom are fleeing conflict, are largely marginalized groups whose plights are also often underreported.

But the search for the missing doesn’t go away with time. Countries still dealing with the legacies of conflicts that ended long ago still grapple with the anguish and difficulty of locating and identifying the missing. Those who have “disappeared” remain an issue that legislators and campaigners haggle over for decades after the guns have been silenced. Mass graves continue to be revealed. In Sri Lanka, families of the disappeared continue to demand answers for the estimated 60,000 to 100,000 missing from one of Asia’s longest running conflicts (1983-2009).

Reporting on finding the missing faces many challenges. Time and silence take their toll, as does survivors’ fear of retribution from authorities, criminal gangs, or parties to a conflict who remain in power. National associations of families of the missing, local and regional rights groups, and social media archives are great resources for digging into past atrocities and finding documentation of cases that may have long been forgotten by authorities or legislators. In conflicts, perpetrators of enforced disappearances often cover their tracks and try to expunge any record of the victims’ existence. Lack of access to areas of crime and evidence as well makes it difficult to report the story. And in some cases, the missing may not want to be found.

Some simple but effective tactics when conducting these types of investigations and looking for clues to identify perpetrators include looking for geographical landmarks to confirm locations and creating a timeline to double-check the veracity and sequence of events. Searching social media for information on individuals, current or former officials, and armed groups also helps build a database and profiles for names and faces that show up in media reports or testimonies of survivors.

However, the lack of political standards in dealing with the missing is among the major challenges facing those investigating the issue, Bomberger says. “People are calling now for a humanitarian mechanism for Syria, for example, while at the same time they’re calling for proper investigations and a tribunal in Ukraine,” she notes.

“The war in Ukraine has accentuated the need for proper investigations into missing persons cases in line with the rule of law,” Bomberger explains. “The problem is a double standard still exists when it comes to adhering to rule of law standards when addressing missing persons cases in non-Western countries.” Regarding the Syrian conflict, where as many as 100,000 persons are missing, he notes that some in the international community have called for a humanitarian rather than a law-based approach. “For example, by focusing on the right of relatives to know the fate of their loved ones, rather than on criminal accountability. In addition, in Western countries, there is a double standard when it comes to investigating the disappearance of non-citizens and minorities.“

With no resolution to the Syrian conflict and President al-Assad remaining in power, some countries in the region and beyond are moving toward normalizing relations with the Syrian regime. Along with this detente are calls for setting up a mechanism to find the missing without the introduction of a criminal justice component. This has sparked a debate among activists and survivors over whether the perpetrators will be in essence “getting away with murder.”

Investigating the fate of those missing in conflict is not only essential in protecting the rights of the survivors to find out the fate of their loved ones. It is also one of the roles of journalism in holding to account those who are responsible for some of the worst crimes in war, providing factually correct accounts for the historical record, and enabling societies to transition to peace.

Building relationships with survivors, ensuring a real understanding of what is often a complex conflict environment, collecting data, directing the right questions to authorities and those with ability to take action on the issue, and persistence are the most essential tools to investigate the fate of the missing. For many of the survivors, the only way to heal their wounds is through justice.

Tips, Tools, and Resources

Build Trust with Survivors and Witnesses

When reporting on the missing, building trust with the survivors is a great place to start an investigation. Networks of survivors, whether in organized groups or as individuals, can offer some of the richest details and clues. They have the history, pictures, and belongings, details of the missing persons’ lives, and, in some cases, they may have been with them when they disappeared and can identify the location and perpetrators. Developing trust with survivors and keeping in touch even when the investigation has slowed or stopped is essential for gaining their respect and confidence, and gives a deeper understanding of the conditions of disappearance and the conflict. It is even more important in situations when the conflict is ongoing or when the alleged perpetrators may still be in power. Families and survivors are often concerned about speaking out and, in many cases, they have lost hope of finding their loved ones. Ensuring the survivors’ security must be a priority, which can include tactics like offering them anonymity and reassurance that their identity or details of their whereabouts are protected, and using encrypted means of communications.

International Commission for Missing Persons (ICMP)

The ICMP is the only international organization that works exclusively on the issue of missing persons. Based in The Hague, the treaty-based organization has a mandate to secure the cooperation of countries and governments in locating those who have gone missing. It offers relatives and survivors tools to report or obtain information about missing persons through its website, an online inquiry center, and a mobile application. The ICMP maintains databases on missing persons that are accessible to civil society groups and local authorities, and can ask family members to collect and store DNA samples. It also carries out forensic field operations, including gravesite reconnaissance and excavations. Respect for privacy rights is essential when access to data is requested, and family members must agree.

In the case of the 40,000 missing in the Balkans war, ICMP obtained a half-million DNA samples from missing persons and compared them with more than 100,000 family reference samples. By doing this, it hoped to identify missing persons with scientific certainty, link missing persons back to location, enable families to seek compensation, and document evidence for possible use in criminal trials. Incredibly, some 70% of the missing from that war were ultimately accounted for. That data is still accessible and open to journalists to search. In Syria’s case, where most families fear publicizing their information because the government accused of alleged war crimes is still in power, working with the ICMP is essential to reach families and get their consent for revealing their details.

International Committee for The Red Cross

The ICRC has played a leading role in setting the rules for war and this includes enshrining the right of people to know the fate of their missing relatives. It has identified measures during conflicts that could help to prevent people going missing, such as calling for combatants to carry identification, and campaigning for recordkeeping of deaths, burials, and detentions. It also helps to reunite families and document those reported missing. Its Central Tracing Agency, founded in 1870, also collects and shares information among parties of an international conflict and helps families track their relatives.

The ICRC is among the few groups that have negotiated access to state-operated prison facilities, even in some of the most autocratic regimes. The committee, protective of its neutrality and its access, is often reluctant to share information with the press. But ICRC and national Red Cross staffers around the globe work with families to help find the missing and deal with the psychological trauma, and are a great resource in describing efforts to locate or reunify families. Reaching families is often the best way to find out if they are willing to share details of their missing relatives and tracing back disappearances. Going back to the location where they were last seen, if possible, is always a good way to find new witnesses, clues and help in retracing the missing’s last known steps.

war crimes finding missing Democratic Republic of the Congo ICRC

Ozias Kambale Pimo, 11, from Kiwanja, speaks about whether his parents are still alive, in Goma, North Kivu province, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 2009. Children arrived at this temporary resting place before being reunited with their families by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Image: Courtesy of Ron Haviv, VII

Other Specialized Centers

The Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team is a Buenos Aires-based NGO that applies forensic, scientific techniques to the investigation, search, recovery, determination of cause of death, identification, and restitution of missing persons. It works with families who are skeptical of official investigations, international tribunals and local groups handling issues of missing victims across a broad range of circumstances: enforced disappearances; ethnic, political, institutional, gender, and religious violence; drug trafficking, human trafficking, and organized crime; migratory processes, wars and armed conflicts, accidents and catastrophes. It trains teams around the world and offers journalists expert opinions. The group often participates in local gravesite excavations and its documented work can provide leads for further investigation.

Social media searches and other forms of open-source investigation are essential in finding information about missing individuals, locating gravesites, and gathering information about a specific incident of violence.

The University of California-Berkeley Human Rights Center maintains a forensic project that helps in the analysis of DNA and identification of remains – with a focus on El Salvador. The center works with forensic experts and has an investigations lab that conducts information gathering, verification, and evaluation of evidence in cases seeking accountability for perpetrators of genocide and crimes against humanity. The center offers training to journalists, investigators and others on digital, open source investigations and other tools needed in reporting, planning, and collecting data.

Family and National Associations

Activists in Argentina, Mexico, and Syria, to name a few countries, have collected information, created national databases, and campaigned to help find the missing. Argentinian women known as the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo (or, more commonly, The Abuelas), that lost a son or a daughter to the military regime of the 1970s, have set up a database to identify nearly 500 children missing since then. They have located 133 of the missing grandchildren as of July 2023.

In Syria, a military photographer who defected from the country smuggled out tens of thousands of images of victims of torture in Syrian detention facilities, helping families to identify their missing. The photos, which are now part of the Caesar Files Organization, were used as evidence in the first torture and killing case in Syrian prisons held last year in Germany. Identifying and reaching out to such local groups offers a wealth of information and is an essential part of any data gathering and can lead to detailed investigations that bring the issue closer to the general public.

United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances

This UN-mandated group is tasked with helping families find their missing or disappeared relatives, speaking to governments on behalf of the families of the disappeared. It calls on governments to carry out investigations into reports or information it receives. In country visits, it advises governments on respect for human rights principles relating to missing people and investigates individual cases, making it a good resource for journalists. The group issues annual reports of its activities as well as periodic ones after country visits and follows guiding principles for searches of the disappeared based on international conventions. Reaching out to the UN working group’s experts has been a good resource to verify and get updates on specific cases, understand the context of a missing case, and follow up on measures underway to address the issue of enforced disappearances.

Satellite Imagery

Technology has greatly helped the quest for better data in the search for the missing. One example is this BBC News historical investigation: Treblinka: Revealing the Hidden Graves of the Holocaust. Thanks to satellite imagery, ground-penetrating radar, and other forensic tools, supplemented by aerial photography of the sites from the 1940s, the BBC identified potential mass graves at the death camp, followed by an archeological dig years later that located them. Maxar and Planet Labs offer high resolution satellite data to partners – including media groups – and also have been effective in tracking mass burial sites in Ukraine and Iraq, for instance. Looking at Google Earth over time is a more accessible tool but less high resolution. With Maxar and Planet, the satellites can be tasked with and zoom in on locations. In addition, GIJN offers a Resource Guide for Finding and Using Satellite Images.

Case Studies

Ukrainian Refugees Disappearing into Russia

This story emerged when Associated Press reporters noticed Ukrainian refugees being sent to Russia — and then disappearing. But with some two million Ukrainians thought to have ended up in Russia, AP journalists had to interview dozens of people and pore over scores of Russian and Ukrainian media and social media accounts to get an accurate picture. The process of tracking down refugees was at the core of the investigation, including securing interviews with Ukrainians still in Russia — no small feat. Through interviews with refugees, and activists who helped them in and out of Russia, AP reporters pieced together journeys that for many were thousands of miles long, during which they were held incommunicado. In all, the reporters spoke to Ukrainians in seven European countries, along with many still inside Russia. They identified multiple choke points of their journey — shelters where Russians kept them for weeks. Along the way, some of them were strip-searched and they suffered other human rights abuses, as they were processed in what came to be known as “filtration camps.” Some were never seen again. The investigation was the first comprehensive documentation of the systematic deportation of Ukrainians.

Syria’s Prison Cells Being Emptied by Mass Murder

This report by The Washington Post’s Louisa Loveluck and Zakaria Zakaria uses technology to shed light on one of the cruelest aspects of Syria’s long running civil war: the fate of thousands of detainees, often held incommunicado for years, in the regime’s dungeons. The sheer duration of Syria’s civil war has made the task of investigating what happens to prisoners more challenging, said Loveluck. As time passes, conditions on the inside change, and interviews with people detained early in the conflict do not always shed light on contemporaneous conditions. The team trawled satellite imagery for unusual recent changes — in this case, what appeared to be bodies in the prison yard — and then looked for individuals who could corroborate or dispute the apparent findings. The reporters reached out to civil society groups to connect with survivors who had been released shortly after that period and had spent time in parts of the prison that left them close to that yard at the time. “Survivors connected us to other survivors, and over time, their testimonies built up a vivid picture — later fleshed out by legal sources — of accelerating executions after systematic neglect,” Loveluck said. The result is a nine-month investigation that exposed the government practice of summary trial and execution of political inmates in one major detention facility – abuse likely exercised in similar facilities – that may constitute a major war crime. While the report doesn’t identify individual missing detainees, it helps families of the missing to understand what may have befallen them.

Tracing the Stolen Children of Argentina’s ‘Dirty War’

More than 40 years later, reporters are still seeking to understand the fate of children abducted during the darkest years of the Argentine military regime of Jorge Rafael Videla. During that period more than 30,000 people, including at least 500 babies, were disappeared. La Repubblica, Le Monde, and The Guardian launched a cross-border investigation to find those children, most of whom are thought to be living in Europe. Reporters Lorenzo Tondo, Elena Basso, and Sam Jones tracked down one surviving child in London, using help from former government sources and local activist groups. “But finding him wasn’t the hardest part of this investigation,” Tondo explained. “Getting him to be interviewed was.” Like many of the children, he didn’t want to be found. Many feared they would be accused of being collaborators, feared for their adopted parents, or simply loved them. The reporters explained the investigation and its purpose to highlight atrocities under the military regime. Then they waited. Two months later, the formerly disappeared child agreed to tell his story. The result was an exhaustive report that not only revealed the fate of missing children but also told their side of the story — revealing not only their whereabouts but also why many didn’t want to be found.

finding missing abducted children adoption Argentina

The Guardian, La Repubblica, and Le Monde conducted a cross-border collaboration to track down the children abducted from captured political prisoners and given to military families to be raised as their own during Argentina’s “dirty war.” Image: Screenshot, the Guardian

Protesters Killed, Arrested, and Never Seen Again in Nigeria

Nigerian reporter ‘Fisayo Soyombo spent 10 weeks investigating the deaths and disappearances of nearly two-dozen civilians, some of them unidentified, after a military assault on a protest site in October 2020 in Lagos. Soyombo interviewed survivors and families of detainees, and came face-to-face with two of the toughest challenges of reporting on the missing: the fear families have of speaking to reporters and the terror the perpetrators use to silence them. Many family members still live with the hope that their loved ones will re-emerge, and so they avoid reporting their cases. Soyombo identified and profiled the dead and disappeared, speaking to witnesses and families, trawling videos and photos shared on social media, and documenting the threats they have received. His reporting reveals new information and provides one of the most detailed accounts of the attack, including the identity of the attackers, in an incident where the army still denies any involvement.

Special Focus: On the ‘Disappeared’ in Chile

Interview of Pascale Bonnefoy Miralles, by Olivier Holmey

To piece together the history of enforced disappearances under the regime of Augusto Pinochet, the general who ruled Chile from 1973 to 1990, Pascale Bonnefoy Miralles made a bold decision: she would speak not only with the families of those who had gone missing, but also try to interview the perpetrators of these mass crimes.

Pascale Bonnefoy Miralles

Pascale Bonnefoy Miralles. Image: Screenshot, Universidad de Chile

This might have seemed an impossible task at the time. But as the Chilean journalist, who wants to encourage others to investigate, tells GIJN: “You never know what you’re going to find.”

Although many declined, several former military and police officers spoke to Bonnefoy Miralles at length. One welcomed her into his home after she knocked on his door without warning. Bonnefoy Miralles says she wasn’t concerned for her own safety, as the disappearances were “very cold cases” by the time she began investigating them. “So many decades had passed,” she says. “What can they do at this point? They don’t have power, they’re not in the army any more.”

These testimonies helped her with several investigative breakthroughs. She identified a notoriously violent officer who had been known only as “The Prince,” confirmed that US journalist Charles Horman had been taken to Santiago’s National Stadium before being murdered in the immediate aftermath of the 1973 coup, and established how the army summarily disposed of the bodies of those it detained and executed in that stadium.

Bonnefoy Miralles, who has authored a book on the National Stadium that addresses Pinochet’s campaign of enforced disappearances, says that she extended the same courtesy to these criminals as she does to any interviewee. By showing interest and empathy, she found that former officers were far more likely to open up about what they had witnessed – although unsurprisingly they were still reluctant to discuss their own involvement. “Most of them will tell you everything except what they did,” she says. “It’s better not to push them to say: you were wrong as well. Because you can get that from somewhere else.”

She has also reported on several disappearances by Argentina’s military junta. Bonnefoy Miralles is particularly proud of an investigation in which she discovered the identity of a Chilean fighter of the Revolutionary Left Movement – Mario Espinoza Barahona – who disappeared in Argentina in 1976 and was known to investigators and forensics teams there only as “Mauro,” his alias.  “I traced his steps from the time he left Chile clandestinely in October 1973 and ended up in Argentina three years later,” she says. “This meant there was a name to a victim and, more importantly, his family was able to learn about where he went upon leaving the country, what he did, and his ultimate fate.”

Sarah El DeebSarah El Deeb is a longtime Associated Press (AP) journalist. She joined the AP’s Global Investigative team in 2021 shortly before Russia launched its war on Ukraine and was part of the War Crimes Watch Ukraine, a collaborative project with Frontline (PBS) to gather, verify and document evidence of potential war crimes in Ukraine. She has worked in the Palestinian territories and Israel, Darfur and Sudan, Egypt, and in Libya and Yemen.

Ron Haviv, VII FoundationRon Haviv is a director and co-founder of The VII Foundation and co-founder of VII Photo Agency. In the last three decades, Haviv has covered more than 25 conflicts and worked in over 100 countries. His work, which has won numerous awards, is featured in museums and galleries worldwide.

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