Linklaters recognised for outstanding pro bono contribution to the International Bar Association eyeWitness project

Linklaters has been awarded one of three Group Member Awards by the International Bar Association (IBA) for outstanding pro bono contribution to eyeWitness to Atrocities, an innovative project using technology to facilitate justice for war crimes.

The award, presented at the 2018 Annual Conference in Rome, is the first of its kind and recognises Linklaters initiative in piloting the scheme, and the significant quantity of assistance Linklaters lawyers have provided to it.

The ground-breaking eyeWitness to Atrocities app allows images and video footage of violations and atrocity crimes around the world to be uploaded. The app verifies the authenticity of the footage and creates an electronic chain of custody, sending it back to eyeWitness where it is analysed and reviewed by pro bono lawyers to ensure the files meet legal standards for use as evidence in international investigations and prosecutions.

The award recognises the significant positive impact the project is beginning to achieve for victims of international war crimes. Evidence collected through the app has recently been used for the first time in the successful prosecution of two rebel militia commanders in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ali Alahmad, a trainee solicitor in Linklaters’ Mainstream Corporate division, said:

“It has been rewarding to help ensure that genuine audio-visual material can become admissible as evidence in court proceedings. The huge volume of data we’re processing shows just how much the initiative has been embraced around the world.”

Owen Clay, partner at Linklaters, said:

“We are happy to have contributed to this important rule of law initiative. Ensuring technology can address evidentiary challenges and foster accountability has been very motivating for all involved.”