Conflict Mapping

Conflict Mapping aims to reconstruct the chain of events during a conflict through gathering information in the field. It also allows for the analysis of decision-making processes to ascertain the role of those who bear the greatest responsibility for the conduct of armed forces and groups in conflict, and in particular for policies of systematic and massive violations of the laws of war.

This analysis is based on testimonial and other information, overlaid with order of battle and command structures of the various forces, as they evolved over time and space. This chronological and geographical mapping of the conflict, by piecing together information from disparate sources, serves to analyse events within a wider view of a conflict, and identify those who bear the greatest responsibility for designing, ordering and conducting systematic campaigns of violations of the laws of war.

NPWJ’s undertakes conflict mapping programs in the field, such as in Kosova, Sierra Leone and Kenya, and carries out capacity-building of local actors to design and implement such programs themselves, such as in Afghanistan. As a general methodological principle, NPWJ aims to maximise local input and participation in the design and implementation of conflict mapping programs, in order to ensure the programs are appropriate for local conditions, to amplify their ultimate success, and to build the capacity of local actors to implement the principle of complementarity through accountability measures at the national level.

NPWJ has a specific expertise in developing and implementing conflict mapping programs, in particular in the following places:

The reconstruction of events and their legal analysis according to international criminal law serves to prevent denial and establishes prima facie accountability for violations of international humanitarian law.  In so doing, it both serves to strengthen the rule of law and to promote and defend human rights by publicising the price for violating them.  In addition, by establishing the chain of command within the armed forces operating in a particular place and assembling these disparate pieces of information to create the bigger picture of the conflict, conflict mapping enables the crucial first phase of establishing who bears direct and command responsible for atrocities committed during the conflict, and for the policy of committing these atrocities. It thereby avoids the trap of blaming a group or segment of society, and promotes peaceful conciliation.
Related activities: