Human Rights and War Crimes Digital Investigations
This seminar introduces the concepts and practice underlying human rights and war crimes digital open-source investigations (OSINT), including the use of social media and other publicly accessible, internet-based sources to gather and verify evidence for advocacy and legal accountability. The course will examine the purpose, history and use of OSINT by human rights organizations, international courts and investigative mechanisms and will briefly introduce students to the relevant international criminal law and human rights frameworks. Students will learn practical skills and cutting-edge methodologies for planning a successful investigation and collecting and authenticating digital information, including geolocation and chronolocation. We will discuss some of the challenges to this work, including deep fakes, access to online spaces, and what evidence is not available online. Students will learn how to preserve and present digital evidence and some of the admissibility challenges that may arise. The course will also cover some of the ethical considerations that come from using digital evidence and provide strategies to increase resilience and identify trauma responses when working with digital evidence of atrocity crimes.