News & views | 10 July 2020 | by Erin Bijl

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New publication on civilian harm tracking and investigation

The PoC team has published a new discussion paper on challenges and opportunities for civilian harm tracking and investigation, based on an earlier exploratory review of the literature on this topic. We found that the current state of tracking and investigation practices appears compromised by three interrelated challenges:

  • A lack of universally adopted policies and standardized operational practices hampers effectiveness of civilian harm tracking.
  • Contemporary warfare’s increasing ‘remoteness’ presents new challenges that have yet to be addressed.
  • A lack of transparency around the processing of civilian harm claims – characteristic of many militaries – further aggravates these shortcomings.

These findings are discussed more in-depth in the discussion paper, in which we advocate the standardization and institutionalization of civilian harm tracking and investigation practices and policy, the systematic integration of external sources of information, and more transparent reporting by militaries on civilian harm to enable effective parliamentary and public oversight of military operations.

For more information about the literature review – published earlier in May – and underlying documentation, please see the review in the Civilian Harm publications section on our website.

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