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DNA to Digital: Using the latest scientific advancements to reunite families and hold perpetrators accountable 

Convening the Human Rights Community on Emerging Technologies

HRC hosted the 2017 Bellagio Workshop on Open Source Investigations at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center in Italy to develop a common language between legal investigators, journalists, and civil society investigators on digital open source investigations and information collection for legal accountability. The Bellagio workshop led directly to the development of the Berkeley Protocol on Digital Open Source Investigations.

HRC and the Open Society Justice Initiative hosted an international conference held in September 2014 in Salzburg, Austria, in collaboration with the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor and the Salzburg Global Seminar. Workshop participants discussed how local and international NGOs, journalists, forensic scientists, health professionals, and other “first responders” to war crimes and human violations can most effectively work with courts — and the ICC in particular — in the collection of evidence of serious war crimes, such as genocide and crimes against humanity. 

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HRC and the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court convened a workshop titled Beyond Reasonable Doubt: Using Scientific Evidence to Advance Prosecutions at the International Criminal Court at The Hague in 2012. The gathering advanced discussions on how the ICC could improve its use of scientific evidence, and the potential for future coordination and collaboration between the Court and nongovernmental organizations, the United Nations, and forensic and scientific institutions.

In 2009, HRC hosted one of the first workshops on digital technology and human rights, “The Soul of the New Machine: Human Rights, Technology and New Media.” This conference provided space for more than 250 leading technologists, civil society leaders, activists, and entrepreneurs to imagine, discover, share, solve, connect, and act together. The conference focused on evidence gathering and documentation, providing a framework for data collection, analysis, and distribution using mobile open source hardware, data processing and visualization software, and guidelines for fieldwork. HRC convened a second workshop, “Advancing the New Machine: A Conference on Human Rights and Technology,” in 2011 to continue discussions from the 2009 gathering.

A group of people are seated around a table. One man films the room, and there is a screen showing a powerpoint with the heading
Beyond Reasonable Doubt conference at The Hague.


A map of Ukraine showing areas where forests have been impacted by fire. The areas impacted are shown in red, and the areas not impacted are shown in green.

June 25, 2024

Mapping our Environmental Footprint

Investigations Lab Reflections — #Verified by the Human Rights Center: Mapping our Environmental Footprint: The OSINT Forest Tracker as a Case Study for Digital Investigations of

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June 17, 2024

Exclusive: ICC probes cyberattacks in Ukraine as possible war crimes, sources say

HRC in the News — Reuters: Exclusive: ICC probes cyberattacks in Ukraine as possible war crimes, sources say, citing HRC’s ongoing investigation into Russian cyber attacks and Article

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June 10, 2024

The Role of International Justice in Cyber Defense and Deterrence

HRC Reflections — Digital Front Lines: The Role of International Justice in Cyber Defense and Deterrence, authored by Lindsay Freeman.

Lines of code on a computer.

June 3, 2024

Technology Can Monitor Human Rights Violations and Bring Perpetrators to Justice

HRC in the News — ABA Magazine: Technology Can Monitor Human Rights Violations and Bring Perpetrators to Justice, authored by Alexa Koenig.

Official Launch: Iranian Archive. Following the release of the UN Fact-finding Mission on Iran's report to the UN Human Rights Council, our coalition is announcing the launch of the Iranian Archive. This landmark archive forensically preserved 1,000,000+ vulnerable digital artifacts recording serious human rights violations committed by the Islamic Republic of Iran against Woman, Life, Freedom movement protesters. The Iranian Archive is intended to support future investigations and accountability proceedings.

March 18, 2024

Launching the Iranian Archive to Support Future Accountability Efforts

HRC in the News — Mnemonic: Launching the Iranian Archive to Support Future Accountability Efforts, announcing the Iran Archive – a joint effort by the Atlantic Council’s Strategic