Berkeley Protocol on Digital Open Source Investigations

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View Nuremberg at 75: Launching the Berkeley Protocol on Digital Open Source Investigations

The Human Rights Center spearheaded a collaborative effort in partnership with the UN Human Rights Office to develop an international protocol that articulates professionals standards and guidelines for the identification, collection, preservation, verification, and analysis of digital open source information with an aim toward improving its effective use in international criminal and human rights investigations. Establishing legal and ethical norms for open source investigations will professionalize the field and, in doing so, increase the likelihood that such information will be useful for justice and accountability purposes.

This process of developing the Berkeley Protocol was similar past efforts to develop standards around investigating torture, extrajudicial executions, and sexual violence in conflict. These past initiatives were essential steps to help lawyers and judges better understand how to evaluate new investigative techniques, and guide first responders and civil society groups on how to collect information in a manner consistent with legal requirements. The Berkeley Protocol, which will serve as a resource for practitioners, as well as a valuable training and teaching tool, was launched on December 1, 2020, in a virtual event on the 75th anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials

The Berkeley Protocol Coordinating Committee

Ms. Lindsay Freeman, Senior Legal Researcher, Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley School of Law

Dr. Alexa Koenig, Executive Director, Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley School of Law

Mr. Eric Stover, Faculty Director, Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley School of Law

The Berkeley Protocol Editorial Committee

Ms. Sareta Ashraph, Senior Legal Consultant; Barrister, Garden Court Chambers; former Senior Analyst on UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh

Ms. Alix Dunn, Former Executive Director, The Engine Room

Mr. Richard Goldstone, Former Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa; former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda

Ms. Brenda J. Hollis, International Co-Prosecutor, Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia; former Chief Prosecutor of Residual Special Court of Sierra Leone

Ms. Tanya Karanasios, Deputy Program Director, WITNESS

Mr. Enrique Piracés, Manager of the Media and Human Rights Program, Center for Human Rights Science at Carnegie Mellon University

Ms. Beth Van Schaack, Visiting Professor in Human Rights, Stanford Law School; former Deputy to Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes in the Office of Global Criminal Justice, U.S. Department of State

Mr. Michel de Smedt, Head of Investigations, Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court

Mr. Alan Tieger, Senior Trial Attorney, Kosovo Specialist Prosecutor’s Office; former Senior Trial Lawyer, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

Amb. Christian Wenaweser, Permanent Representative of Liechtenstein to the United Nations; former President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Mr. Alex Whiting, Head of Investigations, Kosovo Specialist Prosecutor’s Office; Professor of Practice at Harvard Law School; former Prosecutions Coordinator and Investigations Coordinator, Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court

Dr. Susan Wolfinbarger, Data Visualization Expert and Advanced Analytics Team Lead, U.S. Department of State; former Senior Project Director, American Association for the Advancement of Science

The Berkeley Protocol Advisory Committee

Ms. Federica D’Alessandra, Executive Director, Programme on International Peace and Security, Oxford University; editor of the PILPG Handbook on Civil Society Documentation of Serious Human Rights Violations

Ms. Alison Cole, Specialist Advisor at Department of Internal Affairs, New Zealand

Ms. Francoise Hampson, Emeritus Professor at University of Essex School of Law; member of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Burundi

Mr. Christof Heyns, Professor of Human Rights Law, University of Pretoria; member of the United Nations Human Rights Committee; former United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and coordinator of The Minnesota Protocol on the Investigation of Potentially Unlawful Death (2016)

Dr. Vincent Iacopino, Senior Medical Advisor, Physicians for Human Rights; principal author of the Istanbul Protocol: Manual on Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Dr. Stuart Maslen, Honorary Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria; contributor to The Minnesota Protocol on the Investigation of Potentially Unlawful Death (2016)

Ms. Kelly Matheson, Senior Attorney and Program Manager, WITNESS; author of the Video as Evidence Guide

Mr. Hanny Megally, Commissioner, United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic; Senior Fellow, Center on International Cooperation, New York University

Mr. Juan Mendez, Professor of Human Rights Law in Residence, Washington College of Law; former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture; coordinator of a Universal Protocol for Investigative Interviewing and Procedural Safeguards

Mr. Aryeh Neier, President Emeritus, Open Society Foundations

Ms. Navi Pillay, President, International Commission Against the Death Penalty; former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; former judge of the International Criminal Court; former President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

Mr. Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, Chair, United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic; former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Burundi and Myanmar

Dr. Thomas Probert, Extraordinary Lecturer, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria; Research Associate, Centre of Governance and Human Rights, University of Cambridge; contributor to The Minnesota Protocol on the Investigation of Potentially Unlawful Death (2016)

Amb. Stephen Rapp, Distinguished Fellow, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Center for Prevention of Genocide; former Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes, Office of Global Criminal Justice, U.S. Department of State; former Prosecutor for the Special Court of Sierra Leone

Ms. Cristina Ribeiro, Investigations Coordinator, Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court

Ms. Patricia Sellers, Special Advisor for Prosecution Strategies to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court; Visiting Fellow, Kellogg College, Oxford University; former Legal Advisor and Trial Attorney, International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda