The Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation (Fundación de Antropología Forense de Guatemala, FAFG) is a non-governmental, autonomous, technical-scientific, not-for-profit organization that contributes to the strengthening of the justice system and to the respect for human rights through the investigation, documentation, dissemination, education and awareness raising regarding the historic violations of the right to life and the cases of non-clarified deaths. The FAFG also produces expert reports and conducts scientific investigations, applying both forensic and social sciences at a national and international level.
The FAFG helps the Guatemalan society in the reconstruction of its recent history and in the dignification of the victims through the investigations performed, contributing to the process an improved quality in aspects related to the integrity of the analysis, methodology, experience, credibility, trust and sustainability.
It performs forensic anthropological investigations in order to provide evidence of the violations of the fundamental right to life, and so contribute to the fight against impunity and to the pacification process that started with the signing of the Peace Accords.
Since the signing of the Peace Accords, the investigations that the FAFG performs have strengthened the justice administration system in the investigation of clandestine cemeteries and have contributed to the historical clarification of the violent events that occurred during the armed conflict, so helping people to overcome this painful stage of their lives and to close the relatives’ mourning cycle.
All of the previously mentioned conform an enriching process and whose integration is in itself an act of reparation and, above all, of dignification of the victims through a legal burial according to the customs and traditions of each of the communities that exist in Guatemala.
The aim of the forensic anthropological investigations is to identify the remains that are exhumed, as this identification can be the foundation of a legal accusation and can contribute to the resolution of legal problems that the relatives of the victims could be facing (death certificate, marriages, inheritances, pensions, etc.).
Further, the forensic anthropological investigation serve to validate the testimonies of the witnesses and the survivors, as it is a way of corroborating the events that occurred during the armed conflict, they are also a way of giving scientific and legal value to the testimonies. Also, the events registered in other investigations such as the project of the Recuperation of the Historical Memory and the report of the Historical Clarification Commission are confirmed.
From the legal aspect of this process, a contribution is made to the justice system in attending to the legal processes of the exhumations that the victims’ relatives and the communities request.
At the same time, it offers support and credibility to the justice system by putting at the disposition of the Public Prosecutor’s Office the experts that are able to perform a technical and professional investigation, whose objective results contribute to the investigation, so giving the necessary recognition to the forensic sciences and related disciplines that contribute to the application of the justice system.
Since the signing of the Peace Accords, the FAFG has been working with more emphasis on supporting the democratization and pacification process so that in some way a contribution is made towards the fight against impunity that exists in Guatemala, and that the population can make use of the legal system.
The FAFG also contributes to the existence of an official recognition of the human rights violation that occurred during the armed conflict. With this recognition as a base, national reconciliation can be achieved. It is worth emphasizing that the implementation of the recommendations of the Historical Clarification Commission is part of the pacification and reconciliation process of Guatemala.
Because of the scientific character of the institution, studies performed are published in print and electronic media, and sometimes they are transmitted by other means of communication, through which the study of forensic anthropology, archaeology and physical anthropology, amongst other sciences.
Another contribution of the FAFG is the gathering of information so that the population can get to know the recent history of their country, specifically the part pertaining to the armed conflict in order to raise awareness amongst the population regarding these events, so that they are known nationally and internationally and are never repeated again.
The forensic anthropological investigations that are performed are requested by the Public Prosecutor’s Office (Ministerio Público, MP), as a consequence of the reports made by individuals, communities, civil society groups as well as the same MP.
The forensic anthropological investigation helps to locate, recuperate, analyze and identify the human skeletal remains and related evidence; this is made possible through its four phases, whose final product is the expert report in which all the information gathered during the process is included.
The services provided by the Foundation can be remunerated or not remunerated. The former represent a sustainability mechanism for the Foundation without forgetting its not-for-profit character. The latter are provided as a social contribution to different beneficiary groups when the Foundations deems it appropriate to fulfill its reason to be.
Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation
Av Siemon Cañas 10-64 Zona 2. Tel. 2288-7297, 2288-7302, 2254-0882
1ra. Calle 1-53 Zona 2. Tel. 2232-4843, 2220-3537, 2238-4674