14 October 2011

Patterns of Trauma in Conflict Victims from Timor Leste (Abstract)

East Timor Legal News 14 Oct 2011 Source: American Academy of Forensic Sciences  Debra A. Komar Ph.D.1, Sarah Lathrop D.V.M., Ph.D.2 Article first published online: 7 OCT 2011 DOI: 10.1111/j.1556-4029.2011.01931.x Abstract:  Understanding population-level trauma patterns has implications for the recognition of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Trauma data were abstracted from autopsy and anthropology reports for 105 victims from the 1999 conflict in Timor Leste. A significant number of individuals displayed no evidence of injury. No trauma was found in 25% of the sample, while a further 5% had only minor, nonlethal wounds. Where trauma was evident, sharp force injuries were most common (35%), followed by gunshot (20%) and blunt force (13.33%). Timorese frequencies of trauma differ significantly from percentages found in prior reports of mass killings from Cambodia, Bosnia, Croatia, and Afghanistan but closely resemble reported trauma patterns in Rwanda. Decomposition and percentage of body recovered were shown to have a significant impact on the presence/absence of trauma. Complete, fleshed remains were 10.4 times more likely than skeletal remains to have evidence of major or lethal trauma.

ETLJB Editor's Note: Unfortunately, this article is not available free of charge.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is interesting, but do not forget the victims of the legacy of violence since 1975. It involved systemic torture, thousands of summary executions, and intimidation in the atmosphere at a time when there was little prospect of relief on the horizon. This caused an atmosphere of hopelessness and despair to develop. James Dunn (UN Expert on crimes against humanity in East Timor, 2000-2002)