The Hague, 23 November 2007 (FH) - "The archives of the two tribunals will have to be as accessible as possible for the populations concerned, those of the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. But I will also add for the rest of the world, researchers, historians", affirmed to the Hirondelle agency Judge Richard Goldstone interviewed by telephone.

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The South African judge was in charge of a study on the future and the accessibility of these documents in view of the end of the activity of these two ad hoc tribunals. Proposals must be given to the Security Council, supervising organization of the two tribunals, by the end of February 2008. Hardly more talkative, the first prosecutor of the two tribunals specified that "the public documents will have to be accessible on the Internet".
Under the seal of anonymity, a lawyer questions himself: "It is necessary to take the question of the archives to its origin. To whom belong the documents of the ad hoc tribunals? ". If the documents belong to the United Nations, their contents nevertheless constitute a part of the history of Rwanda or of the former Yugoslavia.
To the various questions of the problem of the future of the archives of the two ad hoc tribunals, is added a more sensitive, and eminently political, aspect. "There exists an important attachment in regards to the original documents which is quite comprehensible", estimates this lawyer. The possibility of making the archives accessible on Internet seems acquired. But the question of the storage and the safeguarding of the thousands of exhibits and tens of thousands of hours of video recording remain outstanding.
In the countries of the former Yugoslavia, three nongovernmental organizations have allied themselves and assert the valuable documents. On Rwanda's side, the government has for a long time engaged the offensive. As of December 2006, before the United Nations Security Council, the representative of Rwanda, Joseph Nsengimana, estimated that the completion strategy of the tribunals "must include the transfer of all the documents and archives of the tribunal to the Rwandan government, which plans the creation of a genocide prevention and sensibilization center, to honour the memory of the victims and to promote justice, national reconciliation and the respect of human rights".
In June 2007, before the same institution, the prosecutor general of Rwanda repeated the message. "These documents are a great part of the recent history of the country and are of capital importance for civic policies and reconciliation", explained Martin Ngoga. "We hope that nobody will oppose, on the matter, the limited means of Rwanda", he added.
However, it is the argument that New York could finally use to oppose the former Yugoslavia or to the Rwandan authorities: that of means. How to preserve the documents? Where to store this documentation? How to ensure the protection of the witnesses, while supporting the access of the documents? The archives of the two tribunals represent several thousands of meters of documents - the measuring rod of archivists - and the member elect will have to store them, preserve them and make them available. The Hague, which hosts the ICTY, the appeal chamber as well as the ICC and sees itself as the capital of international justice, is also a candidate.
The department of judicial affairs of the United Nations is also working on the subject. It is within this framework that was set up the Consultative Committee in charge of the study on the archives of the two tribunals. The first hearings have just begun, and a mission is underway in Arusha and must now go to Rwanda.

© Hirondelle News Agency