The New Forensics: Using Open Source Information to Investigate Grave Crimes

Just released:  The New Forensics: Using Open Source Information to Investigate Grave Crimes highlights discussion, conclusions, and recommendations from an historic workshop on evidence collection and legal accountability that the Human Rights Center hosted at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center in Italy last fall. Participants explored how online open source investigations—internet-based investigations that rely on publicly accessible information—can be strengthened. The workshop marked the first international effort to explore how to harness the probative power and potential of open source investigations for legal accountability. 

Workshop participants included specialists in open source investigations, investigators and prosecutors from the International Criminal Court, senior trial attorneys from other international tribunals, human rights investigators, and individuals with expertise developing human rights protocols and guidelines.

The workshop is the fourth in an ongoing series exploring how prosecutions of serious international crimes can be strengthened through the diversification of evidence, with an emphasis on adopting and adapting new and emerging technologies. The other three workshops and subsequent reports in the series include Beyond Reasonable Doubt: Using Scientific Evidence to Advance Prosecutions at the International Criminal Court (2012), Digital Fingerprints: Using Electronic Evidence to Advance Prosecutions at the International Criminal Court (2014), and First Responders: Collecting and Analyzing Evidence of International Crimes (2014).

Special thanks to the Rockefeller Foundation for hosting the workshop and to Open Society Foundations, Humanity United, the Oak Foundation, and Sigrid Rausing Trust for their additional support.

Workshop participants at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center in Italy. Some participants not pictured. Photo by Laura Podio.