eyeWitness to Atrocities

LexisNexis partnered with the International Bar Association in London to create eyeWitness to Atrocities. eyeWitness combines law and technology to assist human rights defenders in documenting and reporting human rights atrocities in a secure and verifiable way, so the information can be used as evidence in a court of law. eyeWitness' innovative system is based on three pillars:

  • First, the eyeWitness to Atrocities mobile camera app allows documenters on the ground to capture photos and video that are embedded with metadata at the moment the footage was captured. This information helps to verify where and when the footage was taken and whether or not it was altered.
  • Second, when an app user sends footage to the eyeWitness server, eyeWitness creates a record of who has had access to the information captured, or a trusted chain of custody. LexisNexis utilizes its world-class data hosting capabilities to provide the secure repository for the information collected with the app, with the same technology used to safeguard sensitive and confidential material for its clients every day. Ensuring the security of information stored in the eyeWitness servers is key to allowing photos and video to be used as evidence in court.
  • Third, eyeWitness ensures this information is processed for justice. All information received by eyeWitness is reviewed by lawyers who tag, catalog and process this visual evidence to meet the requirements of investigators. eyeWitness then identifies the international, regional and/or national bodies best placed to act on the information.

Over 60,000 photos, videos, and audio files have been captured with the eyeWitness app since 2015. In September 2018, a military tribunal in Bukavu (Democratic Republic of the Congo) condemned two high-ranking commanders for murder and torture constituting crimes against humanity. These convictions represent the first time eyeWitness app video footage was submitted to proceedings as incriminating evidence, and an all-time first in the DRC.

In December 2016, eyeWitness won the Geneva Centre for Security Policy Prize for Innovation in Global Security. The Prize for Innovation in Global Security recognizes individuals or organizations that have created innovative solutions that address international security challenges.