Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) researcher Alex de Waal recently posted this excellent blog entry on “How Genocides End.” De Waal recounts his first human rights assignments in the Nuba Mountains. Together with BBC’s Julie Flint, de Waal traveled to the heart of the Nuba Mountains to film a documentary on the horrors of the 1992 Jihad campaign and military offensives which was one of the largest onslaughts of the war.
Their efforts to document the extreme violence and immense suffering unfolding before their eyes paid off:
We caught the government entirely by surprise. The combination of film footage and documentary evidence was compelling. […]. Our report of widespread rape was denied by the government—but our human rights monitors reported that it had a rapid effect in reducing sexual violence by government soldiers. By intercepting radio communications we set up an effective early-warning system for army operations, which allowed villagers to evacuate ahead of government columns, and while it didn’t stop the burning, did hugely reduce the level of fatalities. We were proud of this achievement.
This is yet another successful example of technology-facilitated tactical conflict early warning and response.