Archives and Records – Frequently Asked Questions


In the United Nations, a record is “any data or information, regardless of form or medium, maintained by the United Nations as evidence of a transaction”.

See ST/SGB/2007/5 Secretary-General’s bulletin Record-keeping and the management of United Nations archives.

In the United Nations, archives are “records to be permanently preserved for their administrative, fiscal, legal, historical or informational value”.

See ST/SGB/2007/5 Secretary-General’s bulletin Record-keeping and the management of United Nations archives.

The Archives contain three broad categories of ICTR, ICTY and Mechanism records:

  1. judicial records
  2. records that are not part of the judicial records but relate to the judicial process
  3. administrative records

Judicial records are the records of cases before the Tribunals, generated by the Chambers, the Prosecutor, the Defence, the Registry, the accused and third parties (e.g. States, amici curiae).  They include:

  • filings (i.e. orders and decisions issued by the court and motions and submissions from parties and non-parties)
  • exhibits admitted as evidence
  • transcripts and audiovisual recordings of court hearings

Records relating to the judicial process include those documenting investigation, prosecution, detention of accused persons, protection of witnesses and enforcement of sentences. 

Administrative records document the Tribunals’ support functions such as human resources, finance and procurement.

Records that are still in active use, including the Prosecutor’s evidence collection, are not yet in the Archives.

You can search the Tribunals' and the Mechanism unclassified judicial records in the UCR.

It is not yet possible to search for other records online.  If you are looking for specific records, complete the online Records and Archives Enquiry Form

If you want to request access to ICTR, ICTY and Mechanism records under Rule 86H, please visit Requests for Assistance.

At the moment, you can view and make copies of some records but not others. 

You can view, download and make copies of unclassified documents and photographs in the judicial records.  You can also view and download some audiovisual recordings which were public exhibits in cases, and some public audiovisual recordings of court hearings. 

Some audiovisual recordings of ICTR proceedings are already available on JRAD, while others are being reviewed  and will be made available soon.

Some audiovisual recordings of ICTY hearings – such as the public hearings in the Karadzic trial - are already available through the ICR.  The Mechanism will make others available as soon as possible.

If you want to see audiovisual recordings that are not yet available online, you will need to submit a request by completing the online Records and Archives Enquiry Form, stating the case number and the date(s) of the hearing(s) that you want.

Some exhibits admitted as evidence in cases are objects.  Some of them have been photographed and you can view the photographs online, and download and print them.  Others have not been, or cannot be, photographed so you will need to visit the Archives if you want to see them.

The Mechanism is committed to providing the widest possible access to the Archives, with the obligation to protect confidential information.  For this reason, records containing confidential information are not available to the public.  The Mechanism is reviewing its confidential records and will either declassify them or make redacted versions of them available as soon as possible.     

Access to Tribunal records is governed by Mechanism and other United Nations policies:

ICTR, ICTY and Mechanism have helped shape the modern landscape of international law.  Lawyers and law students may therefore benefit from reviewing some of the resources in the Case Law Database.

Unclassified judicial records relating to specific ICTR, ICTY or Mechanism cases can be found in the UCR.

One of the Mechanism’s main functions is providing assistance to national jurisdictions.  See the Requests for Assistance page for details and practical information (e.g. on requesting certified copies of judicial records).


Yes. The Mechanism is open to the public, by appointment only, during Mechanism working hours.

The Research Room in Arusha is located in the Mechanism’s new premises:  

Haki Road, Plot No. 486 Block A, Lakilaki Area
Arumeru District
P.O. Box 6016, Arusha, Tanzania

See Planning Your Visit in Arusha for access and other practical information.

The Research Room in The Hague is located at:

Churchillplein 1, 2517 JW The Hague, The Netherlands.

See Planning Your Visit in The Hague for access and other practical information.

You need photographic identification to enter Mechanism premises.  You do not need a letter of introduction. 

Yes.  There are power sockets available in the Research Rooms. Remember to bring an adaptor if you are visiting from overseas.

You can use a digital camera without flash.

Handheld scanners and other light-emitting devices are not permitted because of the damage they cause to documents.

Mechanism’s staff can provide general advice and assist with simple searches for records.

Please note that the Mechanism does not have resources to assist with detailed research.

Yes.  If records are not available online, or if they are available online but you are unable to view them, you can order copies to be sent to you by email or by post. 

You can reproduce a photograph of a record in a publication provided that you acknowledge the source and do not distort or alter the record in any way.  It is however requested that you cite the record formally in any publication or reference. 

If the record that you want to reproduce contains material for which copyright is owned by a third party, you must not reproduce or transmit that material without the permission of the copyright holder. You are responsible for obtaining this permission.

When citing records, include the following data:

  1. Title of the item
  2. Date of the item
  3. Case Number (if applicable)
  4. Source Organization
  5. Record Number
  6. International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals

Example of a citation:

Assignment of Defence Counsel pursuant to article 19C of the Directive on assignment of Defence Counsel in the matter of Jean-Paul Akayesu", 8 September 2006, ICTR-96-4, ICTR, ICTR-96-4-0729, International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals.


You can find information about witnesses in unclassified judicial records, most commonly in transcripts and exhibits in the UCR. Search using the name of the witness as a keyword.

In certain circumstances, a Chamber ordered that the identity of a witness should be protected.  Information which could reveal the identity of protected witnesses is confidential and not available to the public.  

See the Witnesses page for more information about witness support and protection.

You can find information about specific places in unclassified judicial records, most commonly in transcripts and exhibits in the UCR.

You can find general information about accused persons on the Cases pages of the Tribunals websites.

You can also find unclassified judicial records relating to accused persons in the UCR.

You can find information about fugitives on the Searching for the Fugitives page of the Mechanism website.

You can find arrest warrants and any other unclassified judicial records relating to fugitives in the UCR. Search by Accused Name or Case Number.

You can find general information about the Mechanism's Principals here