Conference 2013: Archives of Transitional Justice Mechanisms. The role of archives of truth commissions, courts and other dealing with the past mechanisms in societies in transition

16 May 2013, Hotel National, Bern, Switzerland.

The main goal of the conference is to discuss the importance and the potential of archives of so-called transitional justice mechanisms in broader dealing with the past processes. The experience of the last years with regard to archives of truth seeking mechanisms, such as truth or investigation commissions as well as judicial institutions, for instance international, hybrid and national tribunals, has shown that a lack of archival policies often leads to badly maintained archives, lack of access and little or no use in further transition processes. Only recently, archives of such transitional justice institutions are seen as an important part of their legacy.

We will therefore discuss questions regarding how archives of transitional justice mechanisms can be used in order to be part of a holistic dealing with the past strategy; how their archival policies should look like in order to meet this aim; what is the societal and political impact of such archives and what resources are required to make proper use of such archives with regard to maintenance, description, access and outreach.

Conference Program / Participants List


Keynote Speech & Expert Panels

Keynote Speech: Archives in Dealing with the Past
with Yasmin Sooka (Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights, South Africa, and former member of the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions in South Africa and Sierra Leone).

Expert Panel I: "Make Archives meaningful in a legacy of transitional justice mechanisms"
with Asmaa Falhi (Chargée de mission, National Human Rights Council of Morocco), Nerma Jelacic (Head of Communications, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia) and Mactar Ndoye (Rule of Law, Equality and Non-Discrimination Branch, Research and Right to Development Division, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights).
This panel was moderated by Anita Müller, Director of swisspeace.

Expert Panel II: Preservation, Access and Use of DwP Archives
with Catherine Kennedy (Director, South African History Archive (SAHA)), Patricia Tappatá de Valdez (Head of the directorate for relations with civil society organisations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina and former director of Memoria Abierta) and Patrick Walsh (Senior Advisor to the Timor Leste Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CAVR)).
This panel was moderated by Briony Jones, Research Fellow, swisspeace.

Expert Panel III: "Cooperation between Archives and DwP Mechanisms"

with Jean-Luc Blondel (Head of the Archives and Information Management
Division of the International Committee of the Red Cross), Trudy Huskamp Peterson (Archivist, President of the Human Rights Working Group of the International Council on Archives), Serge Rumin (Deputy Head, Task Force Dealing with the Past and Prevention of Atrocities, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs) and Vesna Teršelič (Director von Documenta, Croatia).
This panel was moderated by Elisabeth Baumgartner, Head of DwP Program, swisspeace.