Conflict

Phuong Pham and Patrick Vinck. 12/2010. Transitioning to Peace: A Population-Based Survey on Attitudes About Social Reconstruction and Justice in Northern Uganda .Abstract

Since the withdrawal of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRC) from Northern Uganda in 2005, the region has been on the slow path to recovery after a long period of danger and destruction. This study presents Ugandans’ views of peace, justice, and post-conflict reconstruction after twenty years of conflicts that ravaged the country. Based on its findings of violence, access to information consumption, and perception of ex-combatants, this study makes the following recommendations to the Ugandan government and the international community: (1) continue to promote reconstruction and development, (2) develop a relevant and realistic reparations program, (3) support national dialogue on the causes and consequences of the conflict, (4) strengthen regional security, (5) build local leadership capacity, (6) develop a responsive criminal justice and police system, (7) reevaluate the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s outreach strategy, and (8) ensure free and fair presidential elections.

Phuong Pham, Patrick Vinck, Mychelle Balthazard, Judith Strasser, and Chariya Om. 11/2011. “Victim Participation and the Trial of Duch at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia .” Journal of Human Rights Practice, 3, 3, Pp. 264–287.Abstract

The trial of Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch (Case 001), at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) was the first in the history of international criminal justice in which surviving victims of alleged crimes could participate directly in international criminal proceedings as civil parties. In this study, we interviewed all 75 civil parties residing in Cambodia, including those who had ultimately been denied civil party status at the conclusion of the trial in Case 001. The objective was to learn about their experiences in participating in the ECCC proceedings.

Jocelyn Kelly and Alejandra Azuero Quijano. 4/2012. “A Tale of Two Conflicts: an Unexpected Reading of Sexual Violence in Conflict through the Cases of Colombia and Democratic Republic of the Congo .” In Understanding and Proving International Sex Crimes, Pp. 437-493. Torkel Opsahl Academic EPublisher.Abstract

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (‘DRC’) has been called “the rape capital of the world” while Colombia was known in the late 1990s as “the murder capital of the world”. What do these capitals of crime have in common? Both countries have been plagued by conflict-related violence, including sexual violence. This chapter will serve as a comparative study to explore how such different cases – situated at difference points on the spectrum in terms of prevalence and attention received – are still described using the same narrative language.

Brittany Card, Samuel Plasmati, Ziad Al Achkar, Joan P. Heck, Benjamin I. Davies, Isaac L. Baker, and Nathaniel A. Raymond. 6/2013. Sudan: Anatomy of a Conflict .Abstract
The Signal Program on Human Security and Technology at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative has released its first study, Sudan: Anatomy of a Conflict. 
This study is the first geospatial-based history of a conflict created primarily through a fusion of remote sensing and previously public event data.  The researchers of the Signal Program spent many months cross-referencing and analyzing over 40,000 square kilometers of archival satellite imagery of Sudan with more than 2,000 published reports of incidents occurring between January 2011 and mid-2012.
Key findings of the study include evidence of the apparent intentional destruction of more than 2,000 civilian dwellings and other structures; the intentional targeting and destruction of four humanitarian facilities; identification of specific armed actors, units, and chains-of-command allegedly involved in specific attacks in Sudan; and evidence of the mass displacement of civilian populations.
Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. 1/2012. Siege: Evidence of SAF Encirclement of the Kauda Valley .Abstract

Based on the totality of the evidence presented in this report, the Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) is issuing a human security alert for the Nuba Mountains region of South Kordofan, including the Kauda Valley. A human security alert is issued by SSP when evidence is collected indicating any of the following: a build-up of forces and/or an enhancement of infrastructure and logistical capabilities indicating either the intent and/or the ability of an armed actor to restrict civilian freedom of movement, detain or displace civilians, and/or attack civilian targets.

Théo Boutruche. 10/2013. Selecting and Applying Legal Lenses in Monitoring, Reporting, and Fact-Finding Missions. Read PublicationAbstract

While the existence of monitoring, reporting and fact-finding (MRF) bodies in the international realm is not a new phenomenon, the recent proliferation of such institutions raises a number of policy and legal issues. One issue is that, as MRF bodies are increasingly called to make legal determinations and interpret existing unsettled rules or concepts of international law, these mechanisms’ role and practice in this regard attract more legal scrutiny. As a result, the way that MRF missions apply the law — as much as the methodology used to establish facts — can affect the mission’s credibility. This paper addresses this issue by focusing on the selection and application of legal lenses in MRF mechanisms. The paper aims at describing and analyzing the current practice to identify strengths, gaps, and challenges, with a view to presenting options to improve the ways that MRF practitioners articulate and apply legal frameworks.

Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. 4/2012. Pipeline: Evidence of the Destruction of Key Oil Infrastructure .Abstract

The Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP), through the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative’s analysis of DigitalGlobe satellite imagery captured 15 April 2012, has found evidence of the destruction of key oil pipeline infrastructure in Heglig, South Kordofan, Sudan. SSP has also found cratering consistent with bombardment of some form visible in close proximity to nearby oil pipeline and oil production facilities. SSP cannot make a determination based on the evidence currently available as to either who destroyed the object consistent with an oil.

Rob Grace and Claude Bruderlein. 7/2012. “On Monitoring, Reporting, and Fact-finding Mechanisms ”.Abstract

A simple glance at recent news headlines reveals the growing prevalence of international missions tasked to monitor and report on potential violations of international law.  In the past few months alone, the United Nations (UN) dispatched a team to monitor the ceasefire in Syria, and the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) mandated a commission of inquiry to examine Israeli settlements in the West Bank, extended the mandate of the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, and mandated a new Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment.  These missions are part of a rapidly growing trend.  The international community — imbued, since the end of the Cold War, with a new sense of responsibility for international legal accountability and civilian protection — has increasingly employed monitoring, reporting, and fact-finding (MRF) mechanisms to collect information on the vulnerabilities of civilian populations and investigate potential violations of international law.

Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. 7/2012. Making the World a Witness: Report on the Pilot Phase.Abstract

The Satellite Sentinel Project, or SSP, has released a report on the pilot phase which began in December 2010 and concluded 1 June 2012. This report contains highlights over the past 18 months including a summary of operations, and satellite imagery. With the completion of the pilot phase of SSP on 1 June 2012, the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) concluded its participation in SSP. HHI has transitioned out of SSP, launching the Signal Program on Human Security and Technology with the aim of establishing the first codified technical standards and professional ethics for crisis mapping.

Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. 3/2012. Impact: Indiscriminate Bombardment by a SAF Antonov, South Kordofan, Sudan .Abstract
The The , through Harvard Humanitarian Initiative’s analysis of DigitalGlobe satellite imagery, has collected evidence consistent with apparent indiscriminate aerial bombardment in progress by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in South Kordofan, Sudan. The indiscriminate targeting of civilian populations and infrastructure can constitute a war crime under international law. Plumes of grey smoke can be seen rising from the ground at two separate locations north of the village of Angarto, South Kordofan on 8 March 2012. One plume is visible 600 meters north and the other plume is visible 1.6 km/ 1 mi north of Angarto. In a second image captured six minutes later, fire is visible at one of the apparent impact sites.
Program Humanitarian Policy Conflict on and Research. 2/2011. Humanitarian Action under Scrutiny: Criminalizing Humanitarian Engagement . Read PublicationAbstract

The Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research at Harvard University (HPCR) is a research and policy program based at the Harvard School of Public Health in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Program is engaged in research and advisory services on humanitarian operations and the protection of civilians in conflict areas. The Program advises organizations such as the United Nations, governments, and non-governmental actors, and focuses on the protection of vulnerable groups, conflict prevention, strategic planning for human security, and the role of information technology in emergency response. The Program was established in August 2000 in close cooperation with the Government of Switzerland and the United Nations.

This Working Paper presents HPCR’s research to date on dilemmas arising from the intersection between, on the one hand, counterterrorism laws and policies prohibiting engagement with certain non-state entities and, on the other, humanitarian access and protection of civilians in armed conflict. This Working Paper aims to provide HPCR’s initial analysis of these dilemmas and to suggest key areas for future research and policy engagement. 

Ronak B. Patel, David Alejandro Schoeller-Diaz, Victoria-Alicia Lopez, and John Joseph “Ian” Kelly IV. 6/2012. Hope in the Face of Displacement and Rapid Urbanization.Abstract
This study seeks to offer a practical examination of resilience in complex urban landscapes for the academic community and humanitarian actors at the local and international levels. Distrito de Aguablanca (Cali, Colombia), a complex settlement area with some 600,000 residents, functions as a case study in human security and resilience that can inform public policy and community level decision making in especially difficult humanitarian environments, with sociopolitical volatility, large populations of internally displaced persons, and high crime and violence rates.
Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. 4/2012. Escalation: Evidence of SAF and SPLA Combat Operations.Abstract

The Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) has confirmed through the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative’s analysis of DigitalGlobe satellite imagery that Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) have deployed a significantly increased number of combat capable air assets within range of South Sudan’s border and territory. SSP has documented evidence consistent with reported aerial bombardment in close proximity to a strategic bridge located in Unity State, South Sudan. SAF spokesman al-Sawarmi Khaled Saad denied Sudan’s involvement in the bombings.

Jocelyn Kelly and Lindsay Branham. 3/2012. “Engaging African Voices on Kony .” The New York TImes.Abstract

A critical perspective has been missing from the conversation resulting from the Kony 2012 campaign: that of those currently living in Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) affected areas.The voices of affected individuals and communities should be at the center of this swelling chorus of opinions . If they were, perhaps the clamor of criticism could quiet long enough to hear what is being asked of humanitarians, academics, policy makers, and global citizens.

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