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Andriy Kostin, Prosecutor General of Ukraine, endorses eyeWitness to Atrocities app

October 27, 2022

Andriy Kostin

©Andriy Kostin

Andriy Kostin, Prosecutor General of Ukraine, has endorsedthe eyeWitness to Atrocities app, citing the critical importance of the app’s metadata for reconstructing “the specific crime scene of a specific war crime”.

eyeWitness was initiated by the International Bar Association (IBA) in 2015 to help human rights defenders across the world capture verifiable footage of international atrocity crimes.

In addition to endorsing the eyeWitness to Atrocities app, the Prosecutor General's Office (PGO) has signed a memorandum of understandingwith the IBA. The MOU includes, subject to users' consent, use of information captured with the app. Thanks to the app's verification technology, the PGO can trust the validity of eyeWitness footage in the course of an investigation.

While eyeWitness has been supporting civil society groups in Ukraine to capture and use photographic evidence of potential war crimes since 2017, the app exploded in popularity following Russia’s invasion in February 2022. Since the invasion, eyeWitness has received more than 20,000 photos, videos, and audio records from documenters across Ukraine.

In addition to analysing, tagging, and cataloguing footage ready for investigators, the eyeWitness team has now delivered 10 dossiers of evidence to accountability mechanisms on behalf of its users. Most recently, eyeWitness filed a joint submissionwith Ukrainian Healthcare Center (UHC), Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), and Insecurity Insight regarding attacks on Ukrainian hospitals, and an independent submission concerning human rights violations in the Chernihiv oblast. Both submissions were made to the United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine.