With the completion of the ICTR mandate at the end of 2015 and the scheduled completion of the ICTY mandate at the end of 2017, thousands of linear metres of physical records and petabytes of digital records generated as a result of their work are being transferred to the custody of the Mechanism. Dedicated teams of international archive specialists are at the heart of the Mechanisms operations. The responsibilities of the Archives and Records Section are to ensure the preservation, the accessibility and the security of the archives of the ICTR, the ICTY and the Mechanism. These collections are the property of the United Nations and as such, are deemed inviolable.
The Tribunals’ archives are unique in many regards. Some records need special measures to safeguard the security or privacy of the individuals whose testimony was subject to protective measures –such as testifying under a pseudonym. Because the records document the extreme nature of the atrocities committed in the affected regions, the archives contain information which can be highly disturbing and graphic in nature; special care and consideration is therefore required in their management. Also unique is the significant quantity of audiovisual material created and received as a result of the work of the Tribunals, which poses specific technical challenges in relation to the preservation and accessibility of fragile and irreplaceable records.
Wealth of contents
The Tribunals’ archives document the memory of their operations and accomplishments, and also contain a wealth of information on the history of Rwanda and of the former Yugoslavia during the conflicts of the 1990s.
The vast collection of records document the Tribunals’ jurisprudence and witness statements and testimonies of victims and of perpetrators of the atrocities, therefore constituting one of the most complete collections of eyewitness testimonies of some of the greatest violations of international humanitarian law to have occurred since World War II.
The records related to the investigations and prosecutions provide insight into the motivations and causes that led to these atrocities, thereby having the potential to educate and inform in the interest of preventing the occurrence of future violations of international humanitarian law.
A key component of the legacy of the Tribunals, the archives also cover topics such as the detention of accused persons, the protection of witnesses, the enforcement of sentences, and the Tribunals' relationships with States, other law enforcement authorities, international and non-governmental organisations and the general public.
Serving diverse users
Given the historical importance of the records’ collection, a wide variety of users will find an interest in using the archives. These include:
- Victims, their relatives, witnesses and communities in the affected regions;
- Local judiciaries, in particular in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, which continue the ICTR and ICTY's fight against impunity in their domestic courts;
- Representatives of Members States, civil society and concerned individuals worldwide committed to international justice;
- Academics, historians, researchers students interested in understanding and interpreting past events;
- Film-makers and authors to document their stories.
The Mechanism’s Archives and Records Section (MARS) is entrusted with the custody and management of the archives of the ICTR and ICTY. MARS has offices in Arusha and The Hague, with the archives of the ICTR and ICTY co-located with the respective branches of the Mechanism.
|Arusha Branch||The Hague Branch|
and Records Section
|Tel.: +255 27 256 5509
or via New York: +1 212 963 2848
marsarusha [at] un.org
|Tel.: +31 70 512 5511
marshague [at] un.org