Russia-Ukraine war: eyeWitness to Atrocities app captures potential evidence for trials
As Russia’s war against Ukraine rages and allegations of war crimes grow, gathering evidence that can later be used in a court of law to bring any transgressors to justice becomes ever more necessary. To this end, the eyeWitness to Atrocities app is being used in Ukraine to capture potential evidence of crimes committed in a verifiable format to be submitted in future cases. The app’s unique technology makes this high-level standard of verification possible.
Wendy Betts, eyeWitness Director, commented: ‘With so much disinformation surrounding the war in Ukraine, one challenge for documenters is capturing reliable potential photo and video evidence. Given the risks that individuals are taking to gather this information, it is important that it can be used to seek justice. A project of the International Bar Association (IBA), eyeWitness provides documenters with the technology and legal expertise they need to capture verifiable footage and deliver it directly to investigators.’
In direct response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the eyeWitness team developed, in Ukrainian, the Ukraine Resources Hub – a comprehensive resource to support civil society groups, journalists and civilians in Ukraine in the documenting of potential war crimes. The hub includes materials for documenters on how to identify war crimes against persons and objects, and what photographic evidence they need to collect. Bar Associations in Ukraine have notified their members about the app.
IBA Executive Director Dr Mark Ellis stated: 'With the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) initiating an investigation into the situation in Ukraine, the documentation of crimes through videos and pictures will play a vital role in the Court’s efforts to ensure those who have committed war crimes are brought to justice.'
As the global voice of the legal profession the IBA was able to combine its extensive legal expertise with a developer of cutting-edge technology to ensure that images captured on mobile phones using the eyeWitness app would be acceptable as evidence in a court of law.
The eyeWitness app enables users to record photos and videos that meet the rigorous standards for the images to be authenticated and subsequently admitted as evidence in a court of law. The eyeWitness team analyses and catalogues footage before creating dossiers for submission to tribunals such as the ICC, and to assist Ukrainian officials in pursuing justice. The eyeWitness legal experts verify, catalogue and protect images to aid efforts to bring perpetrators of atrocity crimes to justice.
In 2021, eyeWitness’ legal team and the Digital Verification Unit at the University of Essex used hundreds of images captured with the app by documenters in Ukraine in a report regarding military attacks on civilian property in Ukraine to Balakrishnan Rajagopal, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing in seeking justice for civilians.
The eyeWitness to Atrocities app is available to download from here.
Notes to the Editor
- The eyeWitness to Atrocities app was launched in 2015. Further information about eyeWitness to Atrocities is available here: www.eyewitness.global/
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