Colombia lives a complex war since the decades of 1960. Besides the communist guerrillas, the conflict of this country has involved lots paramilitary groups supported by drugs cartels, members of Colombian army and businessmen. These irregular groups and members of Colombian military forces have committed different kind of crimes against thousands of people. Each one has used a particular way to terrify entire towns to expulse his enemies and most of the times to gain the control of cocaine traffic.
While more recurrent crime of the guerrilla was the kidnapping and enforced disappearance in the case of some members of Colombian army, rightwing militias used systematically massacres against people of small towns to take over huge territories.
During the last three decades, journalists, universities and system of justice in Colombia have documented events related to war, but there are not databases to build relations between the crimes, the context where these happened and the actors. The attorney general´s office of Colombia and commissions of social scientists created by the government have written different researches with statistic information of all the conflict, but without details of the crimes like the names of the victims and local context.
Most of crimes documented until now were committed paramilitary groups. The negotiation between Colombian government and the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia finished with the called process of Justice and Peace, a process of transitional justice that gave just 8 years of jail to the paramilitary leaders in exchange for telling the true about their murders and giving money to the victims. Although the process has failed in many of its targets, details of hundreds of massacres committed since 1982 were confessed by the paramilitary leaders. All this information was the beginning of the project Rutas del Conflicto.
There was not any database to show the facts of the war in Colombia built in a journalistic way that concentrated information standardized. This problem was the starting point of a team of journalist of the web site VerdadAbierta.com, which has follow the process of Justice and Peace since 2008, to create the project Rutas del Conflicto. This digital media tool pretends to be a source for journalist, teachers, students, families of the victims and in general all the people who are interested in the causes and consequences of the Colombian conflict from a different perspective: data journalism.
Standardization of the information in the database allows showing information using a lot of different formats and mixed also many criteria. The web version, www.rutasdelconflicto.com, it is basically a group of advanced search tools to find information of massacres under particular features.
The first tool is a key word searching, to find massacres registers related to a particular term, such as the name of a victimizer, the place where crimes were committed or the name as the community called the criminal events.
The project also created a time-line that shows information of massacres committed every year between 1982 and 2013, with a small context description of the situation that was living the country in every moment.
The third element in the home page of Rutas del Conflicto is a series of interactive maps to show the distribution of victimizer, the location in each year and for a data range. Map points take the users directly to all the information documented for each massacre. Finally, the page also has an advanced search tool that mixed criteria such as name of the group that committed the crime, year, state and particular conditions of victims. The web page was developing using algorithms in PHP, and design tool built in Java Script and HTML 5 working with Google Fusion Tables.
The app for tablets and smart cellphones is smaller than the web version. Users can see registers of massacres committed in a customizer range of distance from the location where they are using the app. Besides, they can search information by state and key word.
A third element that appears also in the web site is Tu Memoria Cuenta, a form where users can send information to keep adding information to the database. Families of the victims, academic researchers and any people who has additional data related a massacres that are not in the project can send it to a group of journalist that check the veracity.