DISACT is a 5 year ERC – Funded Project (consolidator grant: 101086935, 2023-2028). It investigates the logic of the crime of disappearances in repressive and (post)conflict settings. We aim to shed light on the historical emergence and (global) diffusion of the crime, as well as the motives driving violent actors to use disappearances in their repertoire of violence.

Drawing on an in-depth analysis of six crucial cases we blend ethnographic, forensic, legal, and archival evidence to enrich the understanding of one of the most complex human rights violations of our time.

Research Objectives

The selected cases and their relations with the study’s thematic concerns are:

  • Colonial origins of the crime in the context of the French counterinsurgency strategy in Algeria (1954-1962)
  • Logic of disappearances in conflict settings, based on an ethnographic study of two waves of violence in Cyprus (1963-1974)
  • Role of illiberal intergovernmental organizations in the diffusion of transnational disappearances, focusing on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Eurasia (2010-2020).
  • The strategic logic of removal of remains of victims from original grave sites, drawing on forensic data in a comparative analysis of Cyprus, Chile, and Bosnia.

THE TEAM