Conflict

Saira Khan, Rob Baker, Caitlin Howarth, Erica Nelson, Isaac Baker, Natalia Adler, and Stefaan Verhulst. 11/2019. Lessons Learned Report: Using Satellite Data Analysis in Conflict/Famine-Affected Areas.Abstract
This report captures the lessons learned during a project titled, “Children on the Move: Using Satellite Data Analysis in Conflict/Famine-Affected Areas.” This document details the project’s progression and the rationale for transitioning from satellite imagery analysis to agent-based modeling as the primary mode of analysis. This project was conducted in collaboration with the Governance Lab at New York University, the Signal Program on Human Security and Technology at Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and UNICEF. 
Saira Khan, Isaac Baker, and Rob Baker. 11/2019. Satellite Imagery Interpretation Guide of Landscape Features in Somaliland.Abstract

This guide outlines the tools and techniques to establish a foundation for visual analysis and discusses how these techniques can assist in identifying notable landscape features pertaining to agriculture, settlements, water catchment, and livestock in northern Somalia. To the knowledge of the Signal Program analysts, there is no systematic open-source remote sensing documentation of frequently occurring natural and man-made features in Somalia. This guide helps users to identify and analyze these features, particularly humanitarian practitioners supporting activities in the Horn of Africa. This project, titled “Children on the Move: Using Satellite Data Analysis in Conflict/Famine-Affected Areas,” was carried out in collaboration with UNICEF, the GovLab at NYU, and the Signal Program on Human Security and Technology at Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.

Erica Nelson, Saira Khan, Swapna Thorve, and P. Gregg Greenough. 12/2020. “Modeling pastoralist movement in response to environmental variables and conflict in Somaliland: Combining agent-based modeling and geospatial data.” PLOS ONE.Abstract

This study explores how pastoralists respond to changing environments in Somaliland . An agent-based model is used to simulate the movement of nomadic pastoralists based on typologically diverse, historical data of environmental, interpersonal, and transactional variables in Somaliland and Puntland between 2008 and 2018. Through subsequent application of spatial analysis such as choropleth maps, kernel density mapping, and standard deviational ellipses, we characterize the resultant pastoralist population distribution in response to these variables.

Not On Our Watch, The Enough Project, Google, DigitalGlobe, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and LLC Trellon. 12/2011. Blue Nile Burning: Evidence of the Destruction of 'Amara Village.Abstract

The Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP), through the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative’s analysis of DigitalGlobe satellite imagery, has identified evidence of the intentional destruction of at least thirty-three structures largely consistent with civilian dwellings in the vicinity of `Amara, Blue Nile, Sudan. SSP’s analysis of imagery captured on 27 November 2011 indicates a firefight apparently involving heavy armor or other tracked vehicles against dug-in fighting positions occurred sometime between 11 and 27 November.

UNITAR/UNOSAT and Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. 3/2011. Apparent Intentional Destruction of Tajalei Village.Abstract

At least 300 buildings at Tajalei village, Abyei Region, Sudan were burned sometime between March 4 and March 6, 2011, according to Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) analysis of DigitalGlobe satellite imagery. Approximately two-thirds of those structures appear to be consistent with civilian residential structures, known as tukuls. The pattern in which these buildings were apparently burned is consistent with the intentional targeting of civilian infrastructure. SSP has confirmed that three villages in the Abyei region have been intentionally destroyed between Wednesday, March 2 and Sunday, March 6 2011.

Phuong Pham, Patrick Vinck, Mychelle Balthazard, and Sokhom Hean. 6/2011. After the First Trial: A Population-Based Survey on Knowledge and Perception of Justice and the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.Abstract

On July 26, 2010, Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch, was convicted of crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions for events that took place three decades earlier under the Khmer Rouge regime. Following this important milestone for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), the present study was implemented to (1) monitor public awareness and knowledge of the ECCC’s work, as well as of outreach and victim participation initiatives organized by the tribunal and local non-governmental organizations, (2) assess attitudes about justice and the desire for reparations for past crimes, and (3) recommend ways in which the ECCC, civil society, and the international community can continue to engage Cambodians in the work of the ECCC.

Not On Our Watch, The Enough Project, Google, The United Nations UNITAR Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT), DigitalGlobe, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and LLC Trellon. 5/2011. Abyei Invasion: Evidence of SAF Incursion Abyei .Abstract
Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) has confirmed through the analysis of DigitalGlobe imagery that the southern-aligned base at Todach has been recently razed; evidence consistent with an attack on that location by armored vehicles is visible. The southern-aligned base at Tajalei, which was allegedly attacked on 21 May, does not appear to be visibly damaged. The base may have been abandoned by Southern units, however. Additionally, imagery shows fires burning in the town of Dungop and another point near Abyei town, consistent with reports that buildings are being burned by northern-aligned forces in the Abyei region.
Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and UNITAR/UNOSAT. 3/2011. Abyei Incursion: Evidence of Northern-Aligned Forces Deployed to Abyei Region, Sudan.Abstract

According to media reports released on 20 March 2011, Sudan's federal Ministry of the Interior recently deployed approximately 1,500 northern police to the environs of Bongo, Diffra, and Goli in northern Abyei, Sudan. Northern representatives, including the spokesman of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF), Colonel Khalid Sa'ad Al-Sawarmi, have denied that the northern military deployed troops to Abyei. However, satellite imagery collected by DigitalGlobe and analyzed by the Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) corroborates the reported presence of encampments consistent with military/police installations in close proximity to Bongo, Diffra and Goli.

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.

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