The Voices from the Rwanda Tribunal project is guided by a vision to provide to the world, especially the people of Rwanda, free and open access to these interviews with personnel from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). As part of this vision, whenever possible, we will subtitle or dub materials in Kinyarwanda.
Access, Repurpose, Remix
Our intention is to enable as many innovative, derivative uses as possible. We imagine such uses may include documentaries on Rwanda, textbooks discussing genocide, Pan-African justice capacity building, blogs, school projects, a handbook for future tribunals, plays, performances, legal curricula, and reconciliation projects within Rwanda. We are currently designing information systems to support appropriation and use within Rwanda, within the international justice system, and for the global public, now and into the future.
To support appropriation, we are currently releasing the video clips under the Creative Commons Attribution license. This license states that you are free to copy, distribute and transmit the clips (share) and adapt them (remix). However, the material must be attributed to the "Voices from the Rwanda Tribunal" project (but not in any way that suggests that we endorse you or your use of this work).
In response to the 1994 Rwandan genocide, the United Nations Security Council established the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR). The Security Council's mandate instructed the court to prosecute those accused of responsibility for the genocide and other serious violations of international law within a set area of the African Great Lakes region during a defined time period.
In 2008, a team of information scientists, legal experts, and videographers set out to record the voices of those who were part of the ICTR legal process. The team conducted 49 video interviews with the judges, prosecutors, defense counsel, interpreters, court administrators, investigators, and many others associated with the ICTR on location in Arusha, Tanzania and in Rwanda.
These ICTR personnel hold unique insight into the difficulties of attempting to achieve justice and reconciliation in response to the horrors of genocide. Reflections touch on many issues including transitional justice, violence against women, court administration, and the treatment of witnesses. Diverging from traditional oral history, those interviewed speak toward the future as well as to explicate the past. In providing these reflections, individuals were asked not to share confidential information.
It is the Voices from the Rwanda Tribunal's goal to release the entire collection of video interviews for widespread public access, particularly for the Rwandan people and for the international justice community. This goal of access requires careful attention to technological infrastructure as well as to language. In terms of technology, the video interview materials are available in a compressed video format as well as audio only to support access in areas with lower bandwidth capability. In terms of language, the video interviews were conducted in the official languages of the ICTR: English and French. As of this writing, Kinyarwanda and English are the national languages of Rwanda, though French is still spoken widely in some areas and some Rwandans speak primarily Kinyarwanda. Eventually, we hope to provide access to the materials (including this website) in all three languages.
While the video interviews in this collection were conducted in 2008, the socio-political context surrounding the ICTR and the Tribunal's work continues to unfold. The Voices from the Rwanda Tribunal - containing the experiences and reflections of Tribunal personnel - is one primary source for information related to the 1994 Rwandan genocide and international systems of justice.
Other primary source materials outside this collection may also be of interest. Official court transcripts and other documents from the ICTR can be found on the UN-ICTR website and the UN-MICT website. Records from the Gacaca courts are held by the Rwandan National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide. Testimonies with Rwandan genocide survivors have or are beginning to be collected by organizations such as the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, Voices of Rwanda, and the Shoah Foundation.
Creating a Secure Digital Archive
The original copy of the digital interviews is housed in the Special Collections of the University of Washington Libraries. Digital media poses a challenge on many fronts, from long term data integrity to custodianship. We have completed the first steps in an ongoing process to ensure the data integrity of our digital archive over the next many generations. If you obtain a copy of a video purported to be from our corpus, our tools will support you in verifying that the video is indeed authentic.
On January 27, 2009, The New York Times published an article on our verification process in the science section (page D3). Read the full article.
The technical report describing our methods in full detail is published here:: Integrity Verification Architecture, March 27, 2009
The manifest file, to be used with verifying the integrity of the corpus, is available here: Corpus Manifest, September 27, 2010