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eyeWitness to atrocities awarded the 2016 GCSP Prize for Innovation in Global Security

On 17 November, over sixty policymakers, diplomats, members of the Swiss armed forces, journalists, academics, and innovators gathered at the Cité du Temps for the ceremony of the 2016 Prize for Innovation in Global Security, awarded to eyeWitness to atrocities.

Established by the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) and its Geopolitics and Global Futures Programme, under the umbrella of the Centre’s Creativity and Innovation Initiative, this year’s Prize for Innovation in Global Security saw over 140 submissions from more than 50 countries spanning five continents. Prize entries addressed issues ranging from demining, the global refugee crisis, and the legal aspects of drone warfare, to rehabilitation programmes for violent extremists in Southeast Asia.

This year, the Prize was awarded to a smartphone application that provides human rights defenders, documenters, journalists, and ordinary citizens with the ability to capture verifiable videos and photos of international atrocities. Launched in 2015, the app is available for Android devices and has already been downloaded over 5,000 times.

Download the eyeWitness to atrocities app here.

The project was represented by its Director, Ms Wendy Betts and the Executive Director of the International Bar Association (IBA), Dr Mark S. Ellis. In her acceptance speech, Ms Betts explained that the idea to develop this app was sparked by the increase in the usage of smartphones and social media to gather information on events that were previously hidden from the view of the general public. In order to raise awareness for such events and hold the perpetrators accountable, the app not only allows users to capture photos and videos of crimes, as well as related metadata, but this information is then safely stored and reviewed by the eyeWitness expert team, which aims to ensure that it is used to persecute perpetrators of international crimes.

Before the winners were announced, Ambassador Christian Dussey, Director of the GCSP, as well as Professor Nayef Al-Rodhan, Head of GCSP’s Geopolitics and Global Futures Programme, took to the stage. Professor Al-Rodhan discussed how technological advances and the consequent rapid increase in globalisation have contributed to the volatile times that we are currently experiencing. This theme was expanded upon by Mr Joseph Press – academic and former Director of Deloitte Digital in Switzerland – who discussed the crucial role of innovation in the form of creative leadership in a turbulent world.

The panel of judges for this year’s edition of the GCSP Prize for Innovation in Global Security included Lieutenant General André Blattmann, Ms Angela Kane, H.E. Mr Frank Grütter, Director General Mr Michael Møller, Ms Jane Royston, Ambassador Christian Dussey and Professor Nayef Al-Rodhan.

The GCSP Prize for Innovation in Global Security, an annual event, will renew its call for applications next summer.