The Bone Woman
A Forensic Anthropologist's Search for Truth in RwandaBook - 2004
Published ten years after the genocide in Rwanda,The Bone Womanis a riveting, deeply personal account by a forensic anthropologist sent on seven missions by the UN War Crimes Tribunal. To prosecute charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, the UN needs proof that the bodies found are those of non-combatants. This means answering two questions: who the victims were, and how they were killed. The only people who can answer both these questions are forensic anthropologists. Before being sent to Rwanda in 1996, Clea Koff was a twenty-three-year-old graduate student studying prehistoric skeletons in the safe confines of Berkeley, California. Over the next four years, her gruelling investigation into events that shocked the world transformed her from a wide-eyed student into a soul-weary veteran -- and a wise and deeply thoughtful woman. Her unflinching account of those years -- what she saw, how it affected her, who went to trial based on evidence she collected -- makes for an unforgettable read, alternately riveting, frightening and miraculously hopeful. Readers join Koff as she comes face to face with the human meaning of genocide: exhuming almost five hundred bodies from a single grave in Kibuye, Rwanda; uncovering the wire-bound wrists of Srebrenica massacre victims in Bosnia; disinterring the body of a young man in southwestern Kosovo as his grandfather looks on in silence. As she recounts the fascinating details of her work, the hellish working conditions, the bureaucracy of the UN, and the heartbreak of survivors, Koff imbues her story with an immense sense of hope, humanity and justice.
Publisher: Toronto, ON : Knopf, 2004
Branch Call Number: 364.151 KOFF
Characteristics: 271 p. : b/w plates