Digital Evidence Changing the Paradigm of Human Rights Protection


Salvatore di Cerbo
Pages: 292 pages
Shipping Weight: 450 gram
Published: 01-2017
Publisher: WLP
Language: US
ISBN (softcover) : 9789462403048

Product Description


In a “digital world” like ours, vast Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructures are highways where run extensive flows of information, dictating the rhythm of our day-to-day lives. Such a deep influence, close to be an addiction for us, turns
ICT an unquestioned feature of modern life.

These premises well portrait the landscape in which the diverse spectrum of actors committed to promote, defend and restore the human rights operate. Therefore, the risk is to mistake the means with the ends; but, even if the subject of this work, Digital evidence, is technology-related, the purpose of the study is the goal to which it tends: human rights and their protection.

Moreover, the wide diffusion of “capturing devices” that allow the documentation of human rights abuses throughout massive streams of data from diverse sources will raise new needs: in primis a careful collection and interpretation of the most relevant ones, and then the establishment of mechanisms to ensure the validity and reliability of newly acquired information.

The whole chain that connects all the required steps in order to turn digital data into “digital legal evidence” relevant for the protection of human rights, represents a challenge for human rights practitioners, as individual activists, as well as organizations. Every single step is fundamental: collection, management, preservation, analysis and security of data, along with an effective communication and strategic use of evidence.

Twitter tweets, Facebook and Blogs posts, Instagram photos and Youtube videos, even when considered too weak for a conviction to be founded on, can play an important role outside of a courtroom, establishing the grounds for prosecution indictments or, in general, creating awareness of human rights abuses.

Consequently, new forms of human rights activism, like the so-called “hashtag activism”, pass through social media and have the power to generate a real change at both legal and awareness level. The risk to be avoided is to mortify this power using social media as a shortcut to be politically active or socially trendy making a mere “clictivism”.

Hence, the core of this work revolves around the pivotal question of legal sufficiency of the digital means employed in recording human rights abuses and the consolidation of standards and procedures regulating the admissibility of collected evidence in the court of law. The purpose is to provide an answer from a tri-folded point of view.

The U.S. legal system leads in the regulation of the requirements for digital evidence to be admitted at trial; nonetheless, also International courts like ICC, ICTY and ICTR follow rules and procedure for that purpose, based on authenticity, protection of privacy, chain of possession and reliability of the electronic evidence. At the European level, instead, the lack of a common legislation relevant to the admissibility of d-evidence at trial required a comparative study of the respective provisions contained in many Europeans countries’ procedural law. For these three levels a special attention is reserved to the analysis of the lifecycle of digital evidence, from the creation and use of digital digital human rights documentation for immediate purpose to its later admission as evidence in legal proceedings, as well as to the authentication issue.

At the last stage a collection of the most relevant case law form the principal U.S. courts and International courts is provided.