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Inside Human Rights Watch Digital Investigation’s Lab

How HRW Uses the Latest Technology to Corroborate and Reconstruct Events and Draw Conclusions

How does Human Rights Watch’s Digital Investigations Lab conduct its work and for what purpose? What are its key methodologies and ways of working? When a short, but intense conflict broke out on the Tajikistan/Kyrgyzstan border in 2022, the Digital Investigations Lab worked with other Human Rights Watch research colleagues who were on the ground to investigate possible violations of the laws of war. We did this using video verification, geospatial analysis, and 3D spatial reconstruction techniques, such as site-scanning, photo-matching, shot-hole analysis and trajectory reconstruction. This work helped corroborate eye-witness testimony to events and build evidence that forces from both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan committed apparent war crimes in their attacks on civilians during the brief conflict.

These video explainers show how this work was done. 


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