The Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (Mechanism or MICT) today joins in the celebration of International Archives Day by promoting the dissemination of the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Archives (Declaration).

The Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Kinyarwanda and Swahili versions of the Declaration - which were produced by the Mechanism and first presented in May 2017 to the International Council on Archives - will be displayed and made available to the public at both the Arusha and Hague branches of the Mechanism. Also on display will be the Declaration’s English, French and Dutch translations. These six versions represent the languages of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the Mechanism, the host countries of the two branches of the Mechanism and the affected communities.

The Mechanism subscribed to the Declaration in June 2015, becoming the first United Nations institution to sign this Declaration at the management level. The Declaration underscores the role that archives play in modern societies and promotes improved understanding and awareness of archives.

As the custodian of a unique collection of documents, audio-visual materials and artefacts documenting the crimes committed in the 1990s in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, the Mechanism is committed to preserving and providing access to the archives. On the occasion, the Mechanism Registrar, Mr. Olufemi Elias, observed: “The UN Security Council identified as a core function of the Mechanism the preservation and management of the ICTR and the ICTY archives. Ensuring they remain trustworthy, accessible and are safeguarded in accordance with the highest international standards continues to be one of the key priorities for my Office.”

The Declaration was developed by the International Council on Archives and adopted by UNESCO on 10 November 2011. In addition to the Member States of UNESCO, the Declaration has been endorsed by over three thousand individual signatories, representing national archives, regional intergovernmental organisations, universities and non-governmental organizations worldwide.