On International Justice Day, the HRRC Puts Knowledge and Understanding of War Crimes Prosecution First

Jakarta, 17 July 2013 – International Justice Day, now widely celebrated the world over by those supporting the work of the International Criminal Court, provides a moment for many to reflect on the atrocities that led to the Court’s establishment. As the Human Rights Resource Centre joins with many in saying “never again” to mass atrocities, it has also formed an important partnership to help those in the region to understand the history of war crimes prosecution.

Together with CILRAP (Centre for International Law Research and Policy) and the ICC Legal Tools Project, the Human Rights Resource Centre is proud to disseminate information on the ICC Legal Tools Database. This Database is available online, and provides users with a plethora of information on war crimes prosecution at the international, regional and domestic levels.

Recent collections in the database include unrestricted records from the United Nations War Crimes Commission (UNWCC), including from its Far Eastern and Pacific Sub-Commission, and its three committees. Over 2,240 UNWCC documents are now available, including meeting minutes from the Commission and its subordinate bodies, their working documents, and materials from the Research Office (including the Office’s own reports and reports from national and Allied authorities). Also included is a small but wide-ranging portion of the war crimes trial reports sent to the Commission by national authorities in Australia, Canada, China, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, the Netherlands and Norway.

The UNWCC documents shed light on the historical origins of international criminal law. The Commission operated from 1943 to 1948 and played an important role in preparing the ground for war crimes trials in Nuremberg, Tokyo, and other locations following World War II.

Prior to this addition, the ICC Legal Tools Database contained more than 2,000 documents on World War II cases, of a total number of 64,196 records offered by the Database. Among these documents are the transcripts of the Tokyo Trial.

The Database web interface has recently been made available in Arabic, Chinese and Spanish, in addition to English and French. Almost all records are full-text searchable, in a number of languages using the Latin alphabet.

The ICC Legal Tools Database is developed by the Court’s Legal Tools Project with current support from the European Union, Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands. The page-by-page digitisation and inclusion of the UNWCC’s records into the Database was made possible through close cooperation between the Project team and the United Nations Archives Unit and Office of Legal Affairs in New York.

The “Publications” collection in the ICC Legal Tools Database provides access to academic publications and research papers on international criminal law. This collection will continue to expand during the next years. If you would like your publications or research papers to be included in the Database, please send the texts in question and a request via e-mail to info@casematrixnetwork.org. Relevant national legislation, case documents or other legal sources not yet in the Database should be sent to the same e-mail address.

If you have any queries regarding the ICC Legal Tools Database, please write to info@casematrixnetwork.org. For questions concerning the partnership between HRRC and CILRAP, please feel free to contact Prof. Morten Bergsmo at bergsmo@cilrap.org or Rully Sandra at r.sandra@hrrca.org.