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How Do You Measure the Life of a Hero? FTI's Dr. Maria Tsennykh led a pro bono project regarding the death of journalist Marie Colvin—and was changed forever

What is the value of a human life? Insurance executives and safety analysts deal with this question regularly, but for most people, it's a difficult…

| July 08, 2019

What is the value of a human life? Insurance executives and safety analysts deal with this question regularly, but for most people, it's a difficult if not impossible task to say how much a life is worth, especially a life as extraordinary as that of American journalist Marie Colvin.

In 2012, Marie Colvin was killed while covering the siege of Homs, Syria, for the British newspaper The Sunday Times. French photojournalist Rémi Ochlik was also killed during the bombardment. Marie's family filed a lawsuit in 2016 against the Syrian government, claiming Syrian officials used intercepted satellite phone signals to target and kill Marie to silence her reporting on Syria and the besieged city of Homs. The case received significant media coverage, and Marie's story was retold in the recent biographical feature film "A Private War," in which she was portrayed by actress Rosamund Pike, in a Golden Globe-nominated performance.

Henry Weisburg, a senior partner at Shearman & Sterling who represented Marie Colvin's family along with a team from the Center for Justice and Accountability ("CJA"), approached FTI Consulting in 2017 for assistance in calculating the economic losses for the case. Because of my decade-plus of experience in valuation, accounting and auditing in Europe and the United States and my knowledge of international law, I was chosen to lead the pro bono project, which turned out to be one of the most interesting and personally fulfilling assignments of my career.

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