Our Impact

JusticeAI: Ethical Artificial Intelligence for Human Rights Defenders

Smartphones and other digital technology has enabled more and more people to bear witness to their own history, testifying digitally against the perpetrators of human rights violations and war crimes. This is empowering, but it also creates new challenges that civil society organizations must overcome. How do they store the data safely and responsibly? How do you build cases, when you have more footage than any person could ever review in their lifetime?

Benetech sought to solve these problems using AI for good. To support the United Nations’ International, Impartial, and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) on Syrian accountability along with an array of Syrian civil society organizations use of the estimated 4 million videos related to the conflict as evidence, Benetech built JusticeAI. The platform, purpose built for human rights investigators, applies machine learning and computer vision to review videos and help CSOs analyze, manage and collaborate on the immense quantity of video evidence.

What is JusticeAI?

JusticeAI is open-source software that enables any organization that has a large index of video content to review the content, generate unique fingerprints and identify duplicates or near duplicates within their own collection.

Key Features:

  • Allows users to quickly search, sort, and filter their collections based on extracted metadata and content similarity
  • Identifies clusters of duplicated and visually related evidence to assist investigators as they explore all media related to particular events.
  • Searches for videos with similar objects (i.e. all videos with tanks) and media containing audio matching certain events (i.e. all videos with cluster munitions)
  • Integrates into internal workflows so investigators can incorporate results into their current media processing interfaces.
  • Batch download videos from social media sites quickly and efficiently in an effort to preserve them as evidence before they are taken down by the platforms.

Key Benefits

  • Users can identify duplicate and near-duplicate videos.
  • Video fingerprinting technology provides a secure method to share information about video evidence between organizations without requiring them to share the videos themselves, facilitating collaboration between organizations in an environment that may lack trust.
  • Reduces the need for a manual review of every video and therefore decreases the secondary trauma associated with someone reviewing documentation of disturbing events.
  • Allows organizations to reduce the resources needed to store data by identifying copies of media stored in multiple places.
  • Streamlines and increases the efficiency of cataloging video evidence as it is made available to the IIIM or other justice mechanisms.

Use and Availability:

JusticeAI was developed in close cooperation with Syrian Justice Accountability Centre (SJAC), Syrian Archive, The White Helmets, and the UN International, Impartial, and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) and has been incorporated into the workflows of both SJAC and IIIM. JusticeAI is available for download on GitHub by other organizations that may benefit from the software. We encourage organizations to use it and publish changes and enhancements to the codebase. Documentation is available in Arabic and English, and an e-learning module has been created to assist future users with the installation and setup of the tool. Prospective users include:

  • CSO or human rights organization that needs to process large amounts of video files.
  • Investigative Journalists
  • Video library or archive managers
  • UN Justice Mechanisms beyond the IIIM or international courts
  • Other justice organizations needing to collaborate on media analysis without directly sharing core evidence (for example investigations spanning multiple regional field offices).

Thank you to our Partners

Benetech would like to thank the following organizations for their partnership in this project:

  • Microsoft
  • Syrian Archive and Mnemonic
  • Syrian Justice Accountability Centre (SJAC)
  • UN International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism
  • White Helmets