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Presentation made to a symposium titled Documenting Mortality in Conflicts, organised by WHO/CRED with the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and held in Brussels, 6-7 November 2008.

This slightly amended web version (published 2 February 2009) has been updated to reflect the latest statistics in the IBC database.

Institutional users of IBC data

Mar 2003�Sep 2008

  • Major universities and experts researching the Iraq conflict or modern conflict in general
  • IMF and the World Bank
  • European Commission
  • International Criminal Court
  • Human rights groups and law firms
  • US and UK governments
  • Australian government (cited by latter in explaining withdrawal of troops from Iraq)

Putting the Data to Work slide 9

Along with the informational value of specifics comes another benefit: verifiability. The more specific a claim, the easier it is to contest — but, by the same token, to verify and confirm. Any serious challenge to the validity of the data can only be achieved line by line, entry by entry, incident by incident, death by death.

The range of organisations using IBC data in their published outputs demonstrates the needs that such data is meeting. Of paramount value to those who use the data most intensely are its timeliness, its transparency, its detail and, relative to other recording efforts, its comprehensiveness.