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Project Background and Rationale

 

This project has evolved from Project Bosnia, which started in January 1996, shortly after the signing of the Dayton accords that ended the war in Bosnia. Henry Perritt began Project Bosnia for Information Law and Policy at the Villanova Center. The project moved to the Chicago-Kent College of Law when Henry Perritt became dean one year later. The goal of the project has been to establish the rule of law in Bosnia by using technology to write, distribute, and record law. This allows students the opportunity to combine what they have learned in classroom lectures and discussions with the real world experiences gained by working in a war-ravaged environment where few things, if any, appear as they have in classroom studies.

Chicago-Kent has been involved in the crisis in the former Yugoslavia for several years, looking for ways to use technology to promote the rule of law and to maintain peace. During the recent exodus from Kosovo, Chicago-Kent students and staff were able to witness the difficulties that arose during the process of interviewing refugees.

As the refugees come into the country, several organizations assist them by various means. For example, the Red Cross might try to help with medical problems, while UNHCR representatives may wish to interview the refugees. Each of these organizations needs to collect data. Each of them, however, has its own system for collecting data. This can be very inefficient because the organizations repeatedly record the same data (such as the refugee's name). This inefficiency is compounded because some organizations cannot get access to other organizations' data.

Because of these problems, we decided to create a central database to store all information collected by the various agencies involved in a humanitarian crisis.

 


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Chicago-Kent College of Law The Rule of Law Through Technology Initiative
is an Interprofessional Project (IPRO) of
Chicago-Kent College of Law,
Illinois Institute of Technology

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