The Reckoning Project focuses on preserving the integrity of evidence through specific interview techniques and storage of collected testimonies within secure databases. We are constantly collecting and analyzing testimonies, strategically assessing jurisdictions, conducting legal research, and engaging with relevant authorities and prosecutors to pursue perpetrators of human rights abuses.
The following features are based on witness testimonies collected by the TRP team.
VLADIMIR PUTIN'S INHUMANE BLUEPRINT TO TERRORIZE CIVILIANS IN CHECHNYA, SYRIA - AND NOW UKRAINE
A year into the war, a veteran conflict reporter presents a withering assessment of the Russian leader’s strategy of systematic carnage in three decimated cities: Grozny, Aleppo, and Mariupol.
Janine di Giovanni
"You have a court of law and you have a court of public opinion.
The Reckoning Project brings these two together.” – Ibrahim Olabi
Witness statements are a cornerstone of any accountability procedure.
They must, however, adhere to strict legal standards to be used as evidence in different accountability pathways, including a court of law. Our unique legal strategy combines the skills of reporters and lawyers by gathering and processing evidence in a way that is good enough for courts of law, without compromising the storytelling and the human element.
TRP has submitted an Article 15 complaint to the International Criminal Court regarding Russia’s forced deportation of children, and we are committed to supporting prosecutors with evidence. TRP has also been cited in the latest OSCE Moscow Mechanism report.
Mobilizing, Training, and Deploying Investigative Researchers
The Reckoning Project trains frontline journalists to collect evidence and testimonies via interviewing skills, evidence handling, international law, and understanding crime and trauma. Evidence collected in line with legal standards increases judicial admissibility. To give the Ukrainian people back their sense of justice, we work solely with Ukrainian journalists.
Archiving and Verifying Evidence
The evidence and testimony collected by researchers will be verified using Open Source Intelligence by our partners at the Stanford University Starling Lab. The evidence is encrypted, codified, archived, and then formatted with lawyers for use in court.
Building and Supporting Legal Cases
Our legal team searches for patterns within collected verified testimonies. We engage with and submit select TRP-coordinated cases to international and domestic legal, judicial, and quasi-judicial bodies. We also leverage our relationships with several NGOs that focus on other types of evidence, providing them with the human element they need in the cases they lead. Finally, TRP provides guidance to victims and their families as they start the process of litigation under the International Criminal Court or universal jurisdiction.
The Reckoning Project Methodology
Evidence is collected in real-time or shortly after an atrocity occurs. The Reckoning Project's interview methodology ensures we do not contaminate evidence. We ensure witnesses genuinely consent to be interviewed. We ask open and non-leading questions, conduct interviews free of coaching, and when appropriate we often return to speak with witnesses repeatedly.
Our research teams are acutely aware that the testimony of a traumatized witness won't be admissible in court. All researchers at The Reckoning Project are trained in recognizing trauma and ensuring re-traumatization does not occur while a witness tells their story.