eyeWitness, together with TRIAL and WITNESS, formed an NGO consortium that worked closely with the lawyers of Congolese victims to collect evidence to build a case against two commanders of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) suspected of having perpetrated torture and killings in South Kivu in 2012. The evidence included photographs captured through eyeWitness technology.
The footage, along with witness statements and other documentary evidence, was key to building the case against the two commanders. 92 photos captured with eyeWitness technology were taken in 2017—five years after the crimes—to help prove the contextual and material elements of murder and torture. This included photos of mass graves and injuries suffered by surviving victims. In 2018, Gilbert Ndayambaje and Evariste Nizehimana were found guilty of murder and torture, both constituting crimes against humanity, as well as pillage and arson. All 100 victims party to the proceedings were awarded reparations ranging from 5,000 USD to 25,000 USD.
The judgement shows that the footage was not only admitted but also given significant weight in the decision to convict the defendants. According Guy Mushiata, DRC Human Rights Coordinator for TRIAL International “When the footage was shown, the atmosphere in court switched dramatically.”