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The current debates surrounding human rights violations in the war in Ukraine provide the opportunity to look at the impact of open-source investigations on public and political debates in Germany. However, their relevance has not been discussed so far in the peace community.
The use of open-source information (‘open-source intel’) for investigations of human rights violations and environmental crimes is a relatively new but fast-growing field of practice. Open-source intel comprises information material, such as photography, satellite imagery, and video recordings, that has been uploaded by individuals on social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, TikTok or Telegram. Open-source investigators are verifying data and strive to minimize biases and blind spots, as these influence interpretation of data and thus their credibility.
The production and distribution of information on human rights violations based on open-source intel gives journalists, human rights investigators as well as political decision-makers access to a wider range of sources and witness reports than ever before – and almost in real-time.
This panel discussion introduces the tool of open-source investigations to the peace building community and uses the case of the ongoing war in Ukraine to explore their relevance for debates on the war in Ukraine, specifically:
Chances and challenges of open-source investigations of human rights violations
Relevant considerations for publishing open-source investigations on human rights violations
Effect of these open-source investigations on public and political debates
Panellists of the expert discussion
On the panel discuss:
Tobias B. Bacherle, Member of the German Bundestag, Alliance 90/The Greens, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Committee on Digital Affairs
Julia Tappeiner, Author for International Politics, Russia, and Eurasia, Perspective Daily
Lead Open Source Data Analyst with Yale Humanitarian Research Lab at the Yale School of Public Health