Seminar: Role of Archives in Dealing with the Past

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Fri Dec 20 11:45:18 GMT 2013

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INCORE Announcement - 20 December 2013
'The Role of Archives in Dealing with the Past'

Professor Brandon Hamber
Director of INCORE
Cordially invites you to the next seminar in the
Accounts of the Conflict Seminar Series

Elisabeth Baumgartner
'The Role of Archives in Dealing with the Past'

At 12.00 p.m. on Tuesday 14 January 2014
In Conference Room A, NICVA, 61 Duncairn Gardens, Belfast BT15 2GB
A light lunch will be served after the seminar at 1.00p.m

RSVP by 8 January 2014 to Janet Farren, JE.Farren at<mailto:je.farren at> or tel 028 7167 5575


To date, the role of archives in processes of dealing with a legacy of massive human rights violations and humanitarian law has not been sufficiently researched. Records and archives can have multiple uses in transitional justice: they can provide evidence in criminal prosecutions and truth seeking mechanisms; they can be used in a vetting process; they can serve as the basis for a reparation program; or they can inform and shape memorialisation practices. Thus, both, archives that are used by and those that are produced by transitional justice institutions form an important foundation on which democracy and justice can be promoted in societies in the aftermath of war, violence and authoritarianism.

>From this starting point, the seminar will show with concrete examples from Guatemala, Argentina, the Philippines and South Africa how records are used in different situations of transitions, what risks archives face because of the sensitive material they contain and how they are used in the search for truth and justice.

Elisabeth Baumgartner graduated from the Faculty of Law of the University of Fribourg, and was admitted to the Bar in Zurich in 2002. She holds a Masters in International Humanitarian Law of the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. After having practiced as a lawyer in Zurich, she joined the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and worked in Colombia and Ethiopia. She then worked as a researcher at the University of Lucerne and as a lawyer for the Office of the Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) in Freetown. Since 2009 she has held a teaching assignment in International Criminal Law at the University of Lucerne. In 2009/2010 she was the ad interim coordinator of the Mediation Support Project at swisspeace. Since 2011 she has been the head of swisspeace's Dealing with the Past program.

One of the projects of this program is called "Archives and Dealing with the Past", a joint project of the Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, the Swiss Federal Archives and swisspeace. The goal of this project is to make a significant contribution to preserving, securing and making accessible archives and records of past human rights violations in countries that have experienced gross human rights violations and serious violations of international humanitarian law and to raise the awareness on the importance of archives and data collections of human rights violations within a broader understanding of dealing with the past initiatives.

For a general overview of the project please visit:


Accounts of the Conflict will create an on-line digital archive which will offer long-term storage and preservation of a range of personal accounts relating to life in Northern Ireland and the border region during the period of the conflict.

Individuals, groups and organisations will be able to deposit digital copies of personal accounts with the new archive.

The Accounts of the Conflict project is a 2 year project funded by the European Union's PEACE III programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body.

The project will be delivered by INCORE (International Conflict Research Institute), based at the University of Ulster. Work on the project commenced in January 2013 and will be completed in December 2014.


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