Nuhanovic Foundation

Reparations Database

Marla B. Keenan: Civilian Casualty Tracking in Mali, Stability: International Journal of Security and Development, Vol. 2 (2)





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This paper does not touch on the matter of reparations specifically. However, a ‘tracking, analysis and response cell’ such as that described by this author could constitute an essential preliminary step facilitating all forms of reparation, including investigation of potentially unlawful incidents, monetary compensation for material and physical harm and verification of the facts and full and public disclosure of the truth.

This practice note details an emerging best practice of civilian harm mitigation in armed conflict: the creation of civilian casualty tracking, analysis, and response processes by a warring party or peacekeeping force. It asserts that in Iraq, Afghanistan, and soon Somalia, processes aimed at better understanding civilian harm and addressing its consequences have positively shaped mission tactics, training, and overall operations. In both Iraq and Afghanistan, tracking and analysis has led to a marked decrease in civilian casualties and facilitated the making of amends for any civilian losses. The paper argues that for warring parties to achieve their mission—particularly one with a protection of civilians mandate, such as the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA)—they must fully understand the impact of their actions on the civilian population, positive or negative. For this reason, a Civilian Casualty Tracking, Analysis, and Response Cell should be created for MINUSMA to improve its ability mitigate risk to civilians as required by its UN Security Council mandate. (For an essay closely related to this topic, see the article “Body Counts and Masking Wartime Casualties” by Liesbeth Zegveld in this section. The lecture was given in 2013 but published in 2015).

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