The benefits of casualty recording

Casualty recording can inform political debates and action, develop and evaluate policies and programmes, support victims' rights, inform and support accountability, evaluate economic costs of violence and enhance law enforcement practices.

Informing Political Debates and Action. Robust information about casualties, when leveraged politically, can be a catalyst to the undertaking of concrete steps that reduce levels of armed violence.

Developing and Evaluating Policies and Programmes. Casualty data is often used to draw attention to specific patterns of armed violence that require new responses to address their effects.

Supporting Victims’ Rights. Casualty recording helps fulfil existing international instruments that support the rights of victims. Casualty recording is important to addressing the needs of those affected by conflict, drawing attention to its potential to support UN humanitarian, development and assistance programming.

Preventing and Reducing Armed Violence. Casualty recording can contribute to armed violence prevention and reduction. Data on deaths is used to identify patterns in homicide and to help the design of policies and programmes tailored to prevent future deaths.

Informing and Supporting Accountability. Data produced through casualty recording can and has been used in legal proceedings. Such proceedings generally require a high standard of confirmation, including data resulting from detailed investigations. Accuracy, detail and credibility in information are essential. Casualty recording systems should and can balance the need for thorough and comprehensive evidential details with the urgency of making initial information available. Effective action on casualty information can enhance compliance with the law, by contributing to changes in the policies of conflict parties. Casualty recording also gives a basis to call for the investigation of possible violations, and the holding to account of perpetrators.

CASUALTY RECORDING: Assessing State and United Nations Practices; Joint Summary of Findings and Recommendations, pp 3-5