eyeWitness to Atrocities: Using smartphones to combat war crimes

| July 6, 2015

Download this story

A new mobile phone app is enabling civilians in countries with conflicts to capture and share verifiable footage of war crimes. The International Bar Association (IBA) says the app will help authorities to prosecute perpetrators.

According to the IBA, much of the mobile phone footage of human rights abuses shared on social media in recent years is either fake, impossible to verify, or lacks the information necessary to be used as evidence in court.

The eyeWitness to Atrocities app records the user’s location, date and time, and nearby Wi-Fi networks to verify that the footage has not been edited or manipulated. Submitted footage is then stored in a locked-down database, accessible only to a team of legal experts. According to the IBA, the legal experts then analyze the footage and identify the appropriate authorities to pursue criminal charges.

Mark Ellis is the executive director of IBA. He says: “This could be a real game-changer in the fight for human rights and international justice … and provide a solution to the evidentiary challenges surrounding mobile phone footage. It will also allow media outlets to use the footage and remove any doubts regarding authenticity that may have previously prevented them from showing mobile phone videos.”

The app allows the user to decide whether or not to remain anonymous when uploading footage.

To read more about the development of the app, go to: http://www.trust.org/item/20150607230113-vsdqn/

To find more information about the eyeWitness project, and to download the app, go to: http://eyewitnessproject.org/