Video as Evidence in the Middle East & North Africa

A survey by PILnet and WITNESS on the concept of video as legal evidence

After what some dubbed the Twitter or Facebook Revolution in 2011, combined with a consistent growth in mobile and smartphone use throughout the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA), video evidence of crimes and human rights violations has increased dramatically. MENA presents a unique and burgeoning environment for the use of video evidence. However, increased documentation does not necessarily rhyme with increased justice.

In an effort to strategize effective ways to use video evidence as a tool to defend and advance the public interest, PILnet and WITNESS organized a training on how to make use of such resources in legal proceedings. The training took place in Morocco in December 2015, bringing together human rights advocates from across MENA. While participants recognized the value of video evidence, many of them were unfamiliar with the question of how different jurisdictions can use video evidence in their respective legal settings.

To begin to answer those questions, PILnet is excited to launch a report on “Video as Evidence in the Middle East and North Africa,” produced in collaboration with WITNESS.

This report aims to:

  • Examine the rules of evidence and how they are practiced in various countries across the MENA region including in Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia, Morocco and Jordan;
  • Analyse how the use of video evidence impacts justice and accountability processes in the region and helps to ensure that the video footage that front line defenders often risk their lives to capture, passes the higher bar required for use in a court of law;
  • Ultimately, help activists, lawyers, and human rights defenders across the region better understand how to use video more strategically, effectively, safely, and ethically in defending human rights through the judicial system.