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Fingerprint-based forensics identify Argentina's Desaparecidos

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In March 1976 a military junta took control of the government in Argentina and began a campaign of horror. Between 1976 and 1983 this military government was responsible for the disappearances of an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 people in the name of national security. These desaparecidos (the vanished or disappeared) included people from all walks of life. When Argentina restored democracy in 1983, the National Commission on the Disappeared (CONADEP) was formed to investigate the fate of the thousands of people who vanished during military rule. Unfortunately, most of the victims remain unidentified. Despite earlier claims that all (or most) of the junta's victims were fingerprinted, experts in Argentina today state that fingerprinting people during those years was very uncommon. According to scientists working on identifying the desaparecidos in Argentina, most of the fingerprints taken from the victims were deliberately mistreated, resulting in very poor quality or incomplete images. This makes positive identifications very difficult or impossible. Thus the greatest challenge facing the Forensic Anthropology Argentine Team, a group of investigators assigned the task of identifying the desaparecidos, was to find a way to enhance the fingerprints available in a meaningful way. Otherwise, it might be impossible to identify the individuals for registration with human rights offices and to give the victims' families some peace of mind with positive identification of their loved ones

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Computer Graphics and Applications, IEEE  (Volume:20 ,  Issue: 5 )