The prospects of developing war crimes databasing projects: a case study of the Bougainville conflict
Thesis DisciplinePolitical Science
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
Studies of the Bougainville conflict often focus on the causes and consequences and little attention has been paid to casualties of war and war crimes committed. The objective of this thesis is to assess the feasibility and academic value of undertaking databasing projects of reported instances of alleged war crimes in Bougainville. This includes information recorded by organisations such as the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, noted in government reports, the eyewitness accounts from books and personal statements, or those reported in newspapers and the media. This evaluation is based primarily on events of the Bougainville conflict between 1989 and 1997. This project identifies some of the challenges of locating, accessing and processing reports of war crimes into a single Excel dataset. It also identifies some of the means of mitigating these technical, methodological and conceptual challenges. The dataset from the Bougainville conflict can then be used as basis for further research and deeper understanding of the conflict in Bougainville. Very meticulous and careful work is needed in undertaking this kind of project and that there are multiple ways to mitigate emerging challenges. This type of dataset would provide a significant contribution to our understanding of how to understand and possibly put in place mechanisms to prevent extreme acts of wartime violence such as genocide, mass murder, wartime rape, and systematic torture. Preventing these events requires knowledge, knowledge requires data, and collecting that data must begin somewhere.