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Drawings become witness material

THE International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (Mechanism) has released an online exhibition entitled ‘Worth a Thousand Words’ to mark International Archives Day on 9 June’.

Approximately 7,000 witnesses have testified before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the Mechanism.

To support their statements and testimony, some witnesses have created drawings or sketches of complex concepts, particular events, or specific items or locations.

A statement issued here over the weekend said that the ‘Worth a Thousand Words’ uses some of the drawings and sketches to illustrate how such material was used in court proceedings before the ICTR and the ICTY.

All the items were admitted into evidence and now form part of the ICTR and ICTY archives, which are managed by the Mechanism. International Archives Day is celebrated annually and this year, it is the culmination of a week of celebrations with the theme of “Designing the Archives in the 21st Century”.

The theme highlights how in the 21st century, data and information managers, records managers and archivists can provide opportunities for human-centred design approaches in order to deliver benefits to citizens, customers, stakeholders and communities.

The Mechanism is mandated to preserve and make accessible the archives of the ICTR, the ICTY and the Mechanism.

The Mechanism was established by UN Security Council Resolution 1966 in 2010 to complete the remaining work of the ICTR and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia after completion of their respective mandates.

The Mechanism has two branches, one in Arusha, Tanzania, and one in The Hague, Netherlands. Through written statements and oral testimony, witnesses have provided the tribunals as well as the Mechanism with expert opinions, insider knowledge, and firsthand accounts of the crimes that took place in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s.

To support their statements and testimony, some witnesses have created drawings or sketches of complex concepts, particular events, or specific items or locations.

These illustrations help to explain how, where, and why events occurred or describe and clarify complicated ideas and processes. Occasionally, witnesses have also been asked to testify about certain aspects of drawings or sketches created by others.

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Author: DAILY NEWS Reporter in Arusha

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