Patrick Ball, PhD

Executive Director

Patrick Ball has spent more than twenty years conducting quantitative analysis for truth commissions, non-governmental organizations, international criminal tribunals, and United Nations missions in El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, South Africa, Chad, Sri Lanka, East Timor, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Kosovo, Liberia, Perú, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Syria.

Patrick began working in the human rights field in El Salvador in 1991. From 1993 to 2003, he worked in several capacities in the Science and Human Rights Program at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, where he began recruiting colleagues to build HRDAG. From 2003 to 2013 he continued to develop HRDAG from within Benetech, a nonprofit technology company in Silicon Valley. A great deal of his, and HRDAG’s, work has been to support truth and reconciliation commissions through database development and data analysis.

Patrick provided testimony in two cases at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the first in the trial of Slobodan Milošević, the former President of Serbia. He provided technical advice to the Special Court in Sierra Leone and the International Criminal Court. In 2013 he provided expert testimony in Guatemala’s Supreme Court in the trial of General José Efraín Ríos Montt, the de-facto president of Guatemala in 1982-1983. Gen. Ríos was found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity; it was the first time ever that a former head of state was found guilty of genocide in his own country.

In April 2005, the Electronic Frontier Foundation awarded Patrick with their Pioneer Award. In June 2004, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) gave him the Eugene Lawler Award for Humanitarian Contributions within Computer Science and Informatics, and in 2002, he received a Special Achievement Award from the Social Statistics Section of the American Statistical Association. He is a Fellow at the Human Rights Center at Berkeley Law of the University of California-Berkeley; a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (IDCR) at the University of Essex; and a Research Fellow at Carnegie Mellon’s Center for Human Rights Science. He has been profiled by The New York Times Magazine, Wired, Foreign Policy, Salon.com, and the Christian Science Monitor, and he has been featured in a PBS film.

Patrick received his bachelor of arts degree from Columbia University, and his doctorate from the University of Michigan.

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