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In future conflicts, UN and Red Cross observers will deploy in areas experiencing severe unrest. Armed with mobile computers and digital cameras, they will record interviews and enter other data. Using state-of-the-art wireless and satellite communications, they will be able to upload that data to a central server, as well as download information uploaded by other observers. Thus, a Red Cross volunteer can access the database to determine if a particular individual has had contact with the Red Cross before. If a refugee crisis like the recent crisis in Kosovo occurs again, humanitarian workers will have a single, unified system for registering refugees.

As observers and humanitarian workers collect information, it will be immediately available on the web. A real-time GIS system will show the locations of various humanitarian crimes, providing a dependable source of information for both the UN and the public, greatly diminishing the effectiveness of propaganda. Refugees who have been separated from their families will be able to check to see if their loved ones are in a different camp. Moreover, international prosecutors will be able to begin preparing indictments long before hostilities end.

The War Crimes Database will provide us with the basic structure needed to create a larger, centralize database that will eventually be used to store all information collected during a humanitarian crisis. Once this semester's goals have been accomplished, we will set our sights higher. Ultimately, we hope to help agencies to develop their own mobile applications that will allow them to communicate with the central database.


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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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