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Video as Evidence Field Guide

The Video as Evidence Field Guide helps filmers use videos to expose abuse and bring about justice. This resource helps ensure that more cameras in more hands can lead to more exposure and greater justice.

Who’s it for?

The Guide’s primary audience is people working in the field who are or will potentially film human rights abuses. These may be citizen journalists, activists, community reporters, and human rights investigators. If you are already filming abuses, the Guide can help enhance the evidentiary value of your videos. And if you are already investigating human rights abuses by traditional means, this Guide can help to strategically incorporate video into your human rights investigation so that it enhances your evidence collection.

What’s inside?

  • The Law: Basic legal principles and processes.
  • Basic Practices: Tips for capturing video with enhanced evidentiary value.
  • Filming for Evidence: Guidance on filming, organizing and managing your videos for evidentiary purposes.
  • Sharing and Using Eyewitness Video in Human Rights Reporting and Advocacy: Techniques for verifying video content and guidelines for using ethically using eyewitness video.
Download the complete guide, or individual sections

The Role of Video Beyond the Courtroom

An overview of the primary human rights justice and accountability processes — beyond the courtroom — where video documentation can be used to protect human rights.
(Preview | Download English, Ukranian, Russian)

Stages of the Criminal Justice Process and Standards of Proof

This section explores video’s role in the criminal justice process by outlining the stages of the process and describing various standards of proof. (Preview | Download English, Ukranian, Russian)

All About Evidence

Develop a basic understanding of the definition, sources, purposes and characteristics of legal evidence so that you can better evaluate whether your video has the potential to effectively serve as evidence. (Preview | Download English, Spanish, Ukranian, Russian)

Anatomy of a Crime

Having a basic understanding of what lawyers need to prove to hold a person, state or institution accountable for committing human rights violations can help you make informed decisions about what evidence to collect. (Preview | Download English, Ukranian, Russian)

Basic Practices: Capturing, Storing & Sharing Video Evidence

Helping eyewitnesses and activists safely, ethically and effectively use video to document abuses and support the process of bringing perpetrators to justice and freeing the wrongly accused. (Preview | Download  EnglishArabic, FrenchSpanishUkrainian, Russian)

Developing a Collection Plan for Gathering Video Evidence

How a Collection Plan can help investigators and lawyers communicate their needs to frontline activists so the footage activists collect can better content to support a legal case. (Preview | Download English, Arabic, FrenchUkranian, Russian)

Filming Secure Scenes

Guidance on safely and effectively gathering video documentation at the scene of an alleged human rights violation, including developing a filming plan, capturing details and various angles, filling out a camera report and more.
(Preview | Download EnglishArabic, FrenchUkrainian, Russian. Watch the accompanying video here.)

Adding Essential Information to Video

Practical tips on how to capture details and add narration during filming so that your work is easier to verify and will strengthen the chances that the video could be used to secure justice. (Preview | Download EnglishArabic, Ukrainian, Russian)

Proving Responsibility: Filming Linkage and Notice Evidence

Capturing linkage and notice evidence can incredibly  important for long-term justice and accountability. Learn how to document “Who” committed the crime and “How” they did it, in addition to documenting the crime itself. (Preview | Download English, SpanishFrenchUkrainian, Russian)

Testimony: Filming Preliminary Field Interviews

Guidance on filming testimony to support legal accountability efforts and tips to help evaluate whether or not to record on camera or written testimony. (Preview | Download English, Ukrainian, Russian)

Tech Tools for Transferring Files

Basic tips for securely transferring video files from one party to another. You’ll find tips for sharing footage offline, as well as recommended tools for online sharing. (Preview | Download English, Ukrainian, Russian)

Verifying Eyewitness Video: How to Verify Footage of Human Rights Abuse

Techniques and tools to help verify that a video found online or sent by a source can be trusted as an authentic recording of a particular event. (Preview | Download English, FrenchSpanish, Ukrainian, Russian)

Ethical Guidelines: Using Eyewitness Videos in Human Rights Reporting & Advocacy

Ethical considerations for journalists, activists, archivists and others who utilize eyewitness footage in investigations, reports and human rights documentation. (Preview | Download EnglishSpanish, Ukrainian, Russian)


Capturing Multiple Elements of a Crime on Camera

This Field Note explains how Prosecution at the International Criminal Court (ICC) used video to prove war crimes committed by Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, who was charged with destroying religious and historic buildings in Timbuktu, Mali.

 (Preview | Download English)

Screenshot 2023-07-25 at 10.24.57

Using Video to Support Justice and Accountability for Sexual and Gender-based Violence

To help combat impunity for sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) this guide will look at how documenters and advocates can capture high-quality and actionable video used to document the elements of SGBV crimes.

(Preview | Download English, Arabic)

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Video as Evidence Environmental Defense Guide

This guide will support community-based documenters collect visual evidence of environmental human rights crimes and violations so that it can be effectively used in advocacy and accountability processes.

(Preview | Download English, Portuguese, Spanish)

Mini Guides for Quick Reference

Mini Guides: Full Compilation

File for online viewing or printing double-sided, half or quarter sheets. (Preview | Download English, Ukrainian)
File for standard 8.5 x 11, single-sided printing. (Preview | Download English, Ukrainian)

Mini Guide: Adding Essential Information to Video

This mini guide provides quick tips on how to capture key details through visuals and narration. Documenting this information will make your video easier to verify and strengthen the chances it could be used as evidence. Consider printing this out as a two-sided reference card and bringing it along when filming. (PreviewDownload)

Mini Guide: Basic Practices — Getting Ready to Film

These four mini guides provides quick tips for filming, sharing and preserving human rights video for evidentiary purposes. Print these out and take them with you for easy access to key points. (Preview | Download EnglishFrench, Spanish, Portuguese)

Mini Guide: Collection Planning for Video Evidence

Developing a Collection Plan can help investigators and lawyers communicate their needs to frontline activists so the footage activists collect can better support a legal case. This mini guide provides activists, investigators and lawyers with quick tips on creating one. (Preview | Download English, Spanish)

Mini Guide: Filming Secure Scenes — Shot List

A quick reference guide for the shots you should try to get when documenting scenes for future evidentiary purposes. Consider printing it and bringing it along when filming. (Download ArabicEnglish, Spanish)

Mini Guide: Ethical Guidelines — Checklist

Key questions to ask before sharing eyewitness footage and guidance on developing standards within your organization for ethically curating eyewitness footage. (Preview | Download English, Spanish)

Mini Guide: Proving Responsibility

These two mini guides offer basic guidance on capturing linkage and notice evidence. Learn how to document “Who” committed the crime and “How” they did it. (Preview | Download English, Spanish)

Mini Guide: Testimony — Filming Preliminary Interviews

These five mini guides provide important information to help assess whether or not to conduct a preliminary interview on-camera, plus sample interview questions, filming techniques and an informed consent checklist. (PreviewDownload)

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