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Rights of Families of Disappeared Persons

How International Bodies Address the Needs of Families of Disappeared Persons in Europe

Book | 1st edition 2021 | World | Grazyna Baranowska

This book examines how international judicial and non-judicial bodies in Europe address the needs of the families of forcibly disappeared persons. The needs in question are returning the remains of disappeared persons; the right to truth; the acceptance of responsibility by states; and the right to compensation. These have been identified as the four most commonly shared basic and fundamental needs of families in which an adult was disappeared many years previously and is now assumed to be dead, which is representative of the situation of the vast majority of families of disappeared persons in Europe.

The analysis covers the judgments and decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, the UN Human Rights Committee, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the Human Rights Chamber for Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Human Rights Advisory Panel in Kosovo, as well as the activities of the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus, the Special Process on Missing Persons in the Territory of former Yugoslavia, the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances and the International Commission on Missing Persons. In so doing, the book demonstrates whether, how, and based on what principles these four needs of the families of disappeared persons can constitute a claim based on international human rights law.

‘Grażyna Baranowska offers a comprehensive yet nuanced way of addressing enforced disappearances in Europe. Her book provides a fascinating account of how the approach to enforced disappearances has developed over the last decades and uncovers where its remaining weaknesses lay. It explains how human rights mechanisms respond to mass enforced disappearances that occurred in the last century, as well as to recent events, such as extraordinary renditions and enforced disappearances of protestors. The much-needed multi-disciplinary approach taken by the author allows for a better understanding of how the law and its implementation meet the needs of the families of the disappeared.’
-- Manfred Nowak, Professor of International Human Rights, University of Vienna; Secretary General, Global Campus of Human Rights

‘The book is bound to be regarded as a sound contribution to the literature on the phenomenon of enforced disappearance, focussing on the less studied European context, and addressing, through a scrupulous analysis of international jurisprudence, the multiple dimensions of the needs of the families of disappeared persons. Exploring those needs is a crucial first step for a better understanding of this heinous practice and its long-lasting consequences, as well as for the recognition of families of the disappeared as right-holders and the identification of the corresponding State's obligations.’
-- Gabriella Citroni, Adjunct Professor of International Human Rights Law, University of Milano-Bicocca

Technical info
More Information
Type of product Book
Format Hardback
EAN / ISSN 9781839701375 / 9781839701740
Series name Series on Transitional Justice
Weight 600 g
Status Available
Number of pages xxii + 218 p.
Access to exercice No
Publisher Intersentia
Language English
Publication Date Jun 21, 2021
Available on Jurisquare No
Available on Strada Belgique No
Available on Strada Europe No
Available on Strada Luxembourg No


  • Table of contents and preliminary pages
  • Chapter 1. Introduction to the Rights and Needs of Families of Disappeared Persons
  • Chapter 2. The European Court of Human Rights and Disappeared Persons: Broadening in Substantiating Claims and Narrowing Down Through Application of Temporal Competences
  • Chapter 3. The UN Human Rights Committee and Disappeared Persons: Approaches to the Right to Life
  • Chapter 4. International Judicial Bodies Established in Response to Conflicts in the Former Yugoslavia: Addressing Mass Disappearances
  • Chapter 5. Searching For and Exhuming Disappeared Persons: International Non-Judicial Mechanisms
  • Chapter 6. Conclusion: Addressing Rights and Needs of Families of Disappeared Person in Europe