Commissions of Inquiry and Big Data

International fact-finding has increasingly relied on large-scale data mining, data analytics and related computer and information technology to gather information about international conflict situations which would otherwise be hidden before the eyes of the international community due to their secrecy, remoteness or complexity. Big Data methods such as GIS/mapping information, economic indexing, open sources such as social media and AI have all transformed the methods and outcomes of international fact-finding. They also go hand-in-hand with the risk of violation of privacy rights under international human rights law and of the enhanced north-south divide in fact-finding. The paper argues that Big Data as both evidence and fact-finding tool, despite all those risks, does democratise international dispute settlement by providing endless empirical materials about secret, remote or complex international conflicts.