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Litigation Case Study: CaseMap v The Blood Diamonds Dictator

Litigation Case Study CaseMap v The Blood Diamonds Dictator

What does it take to bring down a dictator who supports amputation, rape, murder, kidnapping, slavery and other inhumanities to gain control of diamond mines in a neighboring country?

If you’re human-rights attorney David Akerson, it takes every ounce of your considerable international experience helping prosecute war criminals in Lebanon, Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

What was Mr. Akerson’s weapon of choice for helping convict former Liberian President Charles Taylor?  The same program used by law firms of all sizes for organizing, collaborating and uncovering insights and connections in their own litigation cases:  the LexisNexis® CaseMap® case analysis software.

You can read the entire story in a new CaseMap case study about the notorious war criminal’s prosecution.

In this particular case, the job wasn’t to prove that the atrocities had actually been committed. Those had been well-documented for the civilized world to see.

Instead, Mr. Akerson’s job was to ferret out the connections that would prove Taylor had “aided and abetted” the horrific crimes by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in neighboring Sierra Leone.

Helping uncover those connections through case analysis, is precisely kind of job the CaseMap program was created to accomplish.

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Law School Interns, Software and Case Analysis

With an eager team of law school interns delving through the enormous volumes of evidence in the case, the CaseMap software served as a central repository to give every team member access to every one of those documents. That repository was used to create a chronology that eventually grew to 2,700 facts – far more than any one individual would have ever been able to digest and analyze.

One prime example of how the software helped the team make the connections that made the case: Through filtering, the program was able to uncover the fact that one individual, Sam Bokarie, a senior commander of the RUF, was attached to more than 568 of those 2,700 facts, eventually helping create a blood trail directly back to Charles Taylor. Bokarie was allegedly killed by Taylor in 2003.

“CaseMap kept track of which witness testified to what in this extremely complicated trial. We were able to instantly pluck the testimony of key witnesses out of the chronology to deliver meaningful reports to the case team in the Netherlands,” according to Mr. Akerson as cited in the case study.

Ultimately, though, it was an issue outline that Mr. Akerson set up in the software that helped students link particular facts back to the dictator.

“CaseMap helped us pull together evidence that Charles Taylor advised the RUF, helping to prove his guilt,” said Mr. Akerson.

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About Paula Avery

Paula Avery
Paula Avery is the Creative Manager, Content for the Business of Law and Litigation Software Solutions (BLSS) group at LexisNexis Legal & Professional. With a long background in advertising and marketing – including 20 years running her own advertising/consulting firm – Avery’s focus is on helping companies better connect with and communicate what makes their customers’ lives better, a focus she continues in her work with LexisNexis today. Paula has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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