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Robert H. Kirschner, 61; Human Rights Activist, Forensic Pathologist

September 19, 2002|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Robert H. Kirschner, 61, an internationally recognized forensic pathologist and human rights activist, died Sunday of complications from kidney cancer at University of Chicago Hospitals.

Kirschner participated in human rights missions for the United Nations, Physicians for Human Rights and other groups. His travels took him to Argentina, Kenya, South Korea and many other countries. He helped exhume mass graves in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, and was a forensic consultant to international criminal tribunals involving those nations.

He also worked for the U.N. Truth Commission in El Salvador, the Inter-American Court for Human Rights and other international human rights organizations. He also contributed to the development of the United Nations manual on the effective investigation and documentation of torture.

Born in Philadelphia, Kirschner earned his bachelor's degree from Washington and Jefferson College and his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.

After completing his pathology residency at the University of Chicago in 1971, Kirschner worked for the U.S. Public Health Service before returning to the University of Chicago as a professor in 1973.

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