On the 24th and 25th of January 2024, principal investigator Yvonne McDermott Rees and TRUE PhD student Anne Hausknecht participated in a workshop on “Open-source Investigations and Core International Crimes” in The Hague. The workshop, co-organized by the Dutch National Police and the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol), convened academics, investigators, as well as representatives from NGOs, European polices forces, and the private sector.
On the first day, Yvonne presented on “The Admission and Evaluation of Open Source Evidence in Criminal Proceedings”, exploring the use of open source evidence in domestic and international proceedings. An investigator with the core international crimes unit of the Dutch police, involved in the organization of the workshop, noted:
‘As investigators we are always focused on how our open source investigations relate to our cases, this workshop gave us the opportunity to stop and think about our work in a larger context. The presentation by TRUE’s Yvonne and Anne at the start of the workshop provided us with vital insights into the evaluation of user- generated content that shaped the basis for further discussions throughout the day.’
Yvonne and Anne had the chance to test their investigative skills during a hackathon held on the second day. Using digital open source techniques, such as face detection tools, the conference participants were able to locate eight Ukrainian children that are presumed to have been abducted by Russian forces.