Cornell International Law Journal


Privacy, Right of, DNA testing, Conflict of interests (Agency)


From 1976 to 1983, Argentina was ruled by a military dictatorship that disappeared an estimated 30,000 suspected subversives, including parents of young children and pregnant women. Their children, either disappeared along with their parents or born in clandestine detention centers, were then taken from their parents and adopted, often by couples who were sympathetic with the government and knew of the children's origins. This Article addresses Argentina's newest effort to identify these now-adult children: compulsory DNA testing in cases where the raising parents are suspected of having knowingly adopted their children illegally. It argues that, although the mandatory testing permissibly infringes on the adult child's right to privacy in favor of the biological grandparents' right to truth, better options satisfy the interests of both groups. It offers a framework for countries in conflict or transition that, in the future, may face a similar dilemma the apparent need to identify an innocent person's biological origins amidst that individual's reluctance or refusal to submit voluntarily to DNA testing.

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