Patrick Ball began designing human rights databases in El Salvador in 1991 when he worked with the non-governmental Human Rights Commission of El Salvador (CDHES) on the Indices of Individual Responsibility Project. Using simple databases, the CDHES linked information from 7,000 testimonies of human rights violation witnesses and victims to the individual military and police officers who commanded the units that committed the violations. The CDHES gave human rights dossiers on over 400 of the most senior officers to the Truth Commission and to the Commission that reviewed officers’ records in the transition to peace; this information was critical in the Commission’s identification of the most egregious human rights violators during the civil war.
Since El Salvador, Patrick has provided technical assistance in information management and data security to the truth commissions in Haiti and South Africa, the U.N. Mission in Guatemala, and non-government human rights organizations in Haiti, Guatemala, and Turkey. He is finishing a Ph.D. dissertation in political sociology at the University of Michigan on the emergence of the international human rights movement, and he is currently a Senior Program Associate in the Science and Human Rights Program at the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
See also the Scientific Freedom, Responsibility and Law Program of the AAAS.