EHRAC and Forensic Architecture receive award for their work on digital evidence

Trust grantee European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC) have been awarded Middlesex University’s ‘Project of the Year’ Award in the external project category of the staff awards. The selected project was in collaboration with Trust grantee Forensic Architecture on the ECtHR case Ponomarenko v. Ukraine and Russia, regarding Russian military presence in eastern Ukraine.

Since the Battle of Ilovaisk in 2014, thousands of people continue to be subjected to human rights abuses in the ‘separatist’ regions of Eastern Ukraine, where Russia denies military involvement or presence, despite video evidence to the contrary.

EHRAC and Forensic Architecture gathered and presented evidence on the extent of Russian responsibility for human rights violations perpetrated by armed forces in and around Ilovaisk in August 2014, creating an interactive online platform using open source research and specially programmed web-crawling algorithms.

The platform presents video, photographic, text, media and other evidence which demonstrates the presence of Russian military personnel and equipment in and around Ilovaisk. This particular use of machine learning to source evidence and its presentation on such a platform is innovative in human rights litigation and is indicative of new possibilities to hold states accountable for human rights abuses through technology.

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