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International Criminal Court

Crisis Overview

As an international rather than national or local court, the International Criminal Court remains often inaccessible to communities most affected by the cases the Court hears.

One such case is the one of Dominc Ongwen, who is standing on trial at the Hague in the Netherlands, while affected communities are in Uganda.

Dominic Ongwen is an alleged Brigade Commander of the Sinia Brigade of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a guerilla rebel group in Uganda headed by Joseph Rao Kony. The LRA inflicted horrific suffering on the people of a wide region of Central Africa, including South Sudan, Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as well as Uganda. Over the decades, the LRA was responsible for displacing thousands — only to later massacre them in their refugee camps. As an alleged senior commander for the LRA, Ongwen stands accused of being responsible for several of Uganda's worst massacres.

But the case is not clear cut. Ongwen himself was abducted as a boy by the LRA and used in the militia’s legion of children forced to fight. For his crimes, Ongwen stands to be the first former child soldier charged before the ICC. He is being accused of the same crimes that were committed against him.

On the other hand, Ongwen is the first LRA member who may finally be held accountable. Ongwen is detained by the ICC and charged with 70 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes, allegedly committed in northern Uganda.

What They Do

The ICC investigates and, where warranted, tries individuals who have been charged with the gravest crimes to the international community, such as war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity. The Court takes part in the fight to end impunity and aims to hold those responsible accountable for their crimes as well as to help prevent these crimes from recurring through the use of international criminal justice. The ICC is governed by an international treaty called the Rome Statute.

Our Impact

PeaceGeeks partnered with the ICC to bridge the distance between the Court and communities affected by alleged crimes. In the context of this trial, we strived to help the ICC create awareness and engage local communities in the ongoing Ongwen trial in the Hague.

SMS Platform

On April 3, 2017, PeaceGeeks and the ICC launched an interactive, free SMS platform that enables victims, communities affected by the crimes alleged in the case of Mr. Dominic Ongwen, and the general population of Uganda, to follow the proceedings of the trial on their mobile devices for free. Up to 100,000 members of the affected communities can subscribe to the information system. The platform allows subscribers to receive and respond in three different languages, Acholi, Ateso and English, to regular public information at no cost.

“The mobile technology and SMS platform enhances and complements the work of the multidisciplinary Registry’s team in the country having the potential to reach a wide population with adequate and timely information. An open dialogue and deep understanding of the judicial developments before the ICC are key to ensure effectiveness of the victims’ rights and of the ICC proceedings,” said Mr Herman Von Hebel, the Registrar of the Court.

Victims Participation and Reparations Section — Data Collection App

Contacting the many people who might stand as witnesses in the Dominic Ongwen trial is a difficult ask when so many of these people have been displaced and victimized. On top of the SMS platform, PeaceGeeks and the ICC further collaborated to investigate how smartphone technology could help in victim testimonial collection. PeaceGeeks supported the ICC to research and design a data collection app that would take and accept applications to testify in this case. If the system works, it would give the ICC a method of gathering a vast and disparate amount of testimony from people who they might not ordinarily reach. The importance of this testimony would not only be important in possibly securing a conviction—but also in bringing a sense of inclusion, justice and closure to those who lost loved ones or saw their homes destroyed during the height of the LRA’s reign of terror.

Following PeaceGeeks' submission of research and design for this data collection app in late 2017, the app is currently in development for the ICC by a technology firm.

The mobile technology and SMS platform enhances and complements the work of the multidisciplinary Registry’s team in the country having the potential to reach a wide population with adequate and timely information. An open dialogue and deep understanding of the judicial developments before the ICC are key to ensure effectiveness of the victims’ rights and of the ICC proceedings,

Mr. Herman Von Hebel, Registrar of the Court
Deliverables Summary
  • SMS Platform Design and Development
  • Data Collection and Digital Security Research
  • App UX/Wireframes & User Stories

PeaceGeeks Contributors

Magdi Rizkallah - Projects Director - Kris Constable - Projects Director - Renee Black - Project Manager - Cherrie Lam - UX Designer

Dalia Association

Crisis Overview

In January 2006, elections brought the Hamas movement to power within the Palestinian Authority and led almost immediately to a near-total cut-off of budgetary support and severe reductions and restrictions in support to civil society in Palestine. Overnight, Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, who had been the largest per capital recipients of international aid in the world, plummeted even further into poverty, and became even more vulnerable to the violence of the Israeli occupation. Emergency aid channeled through multilateral organizations and international non-governmental organizations, has not compensated for the loss of earned income, and in fact, has deepened the sense of indignity and hopelessness that has pervaded the lives of generations of Palestinians.

What They Do

Dalia is a Palestinian non-profit organization that aims to challenge the perception that Palestinians are takers and not givers. Their long-term objective is to engage more Palestinians in philanthropy in its various forms, explore questions on the effective use local resources to address local issues and reduce dependency on international aid by strengthening local accountability. Dalia has chosen to begin addressing this problem through a competition aimed at getting Palestinian youth to identify different examples of Palestinian philanthropy, whether it be sharing money, time, resources, talents, networks or something else that contributes to the community. They want to help create a generation of youth who see that they have a role to play in addressing issues that affect their communities.

Our Impact

We see our role as enablers of change. We can’t lead initiatives to address issues affecting people in other places - but we can help organizations like Dalia to get the tools and capacities they need to execute projects, better manage their resources and reach and engage their communities more effectively to address local issues. Together with Dalia's local expertise on engaging Palestinian youth and PeaceGeeks technical expertise, we created an online contest to encourage Palestinian youth around the world to showcase how they were giving.

PeaceGeeks consistently respected our leadership. They recognized that this was our project and we would decide if it was successful and what success even mean. They were coming to the table with skills we didn't have. They were real true partners in this project. 


Deliverables Summary
  • Philanthropy contest concept design 
  • Implemented online philanthropy contest

PeaceGeeks Contributors

Renee Black - Project Manger - Carey Sessoms - Social Media Expert - Neeveen Bhadur - Graphic Designer - Scott Nelson - Web Developer

Dalia Association Contributors

Nora Murad - Project Coordinator


Connected Development

Crisis Overview

On March 28 and April 11 2015, the Nigerian citizens went to the polls, amidst tension and anxiety due to insecurity in the north eastern part of the country, and incessant hate speech that characterized the pre-election atmosphere in the country.

Nigeria's Presidential and National House of Assembly Elections were originally scheduled for Feb 14, 2015 but were postponed to enable a multinational military response to Boko Haram, which has terrorized northern Nigeria and increasingly bordering communities for the last six years.

On March 28, Muhammadu Buhari was elected president, resulting in an unprecedented case of the opposition defeating the ruling party through democratic elections in Nigeria. This election has set an example for other rising democracies in which the people are able to play a more active role in both choosing government officials and contributing to the political decisions that will be made in the country.

What They Do

Connected Development [CODE] is a non government organization whose mission is to improve access to information and empower local communities in Africa. We strengthen local communities by creating platforms for dialogue, enabling informed debate, and building capacities of marginalized communities which ensured social and economic progress while promoting transparency and accountability.

CODE is committed to empowering communities to stand up for democracy in their nation, independent of government influence, in order to impartially assess the status and progress of their country toward a safer and more peaceful nation.

Our Impact

The PeaceGeeks Team supported CODE’s efforts with Uzabe, an on-the-ground and online initiative to observe and report on elections at polling stations and in communities across Nigeria. The Uzabe platform was created to report on election day proceedings to establish an early warning system for vulnerable communities and to respond to any emergency response needs.

During the Presidential elections, the team received nearly 500 reports from on-the-ground and media monitors and has created over 320 reports from these messages. During this activation, PeaceGeeks volunteers contributed remotely along with dozens of other around the world from other organizations.

The PeaceGeeks team reactivated on April 11-12 to support State Governors and State House of Assembly elections in Nigeria and geolocated over 300 reports.

Deliverables Summary
  • Mapping support for March 25 Presidential elections
  • Mapping support for April 11 governorate elections

PeaceGeeks Contributors

Shannon Cox - Mapper (Presidential & Governorate elections) - Renee Black - Mapper (Presidential elections) - Simone Feng - Mapper - Sophie Wang - Mapper - Ina Hofmann - Mapper - Peter Chin - Mapper - Marc Kuo - Mapper - Alex Aippersbach - Mapper - Rozmin Parpia - Mapper

Connected Development Contributors

Oludotun Babayemi - Executive Director 

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