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Virtual Tribunals exhibit expands with Nuremberg archive, launched on anniversary of the judgment

The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg—which convicted and sentenced 21 Nazi leaders for crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity—came to a close on Oct. 1, 1946. Thanks to a grant from Tad Taube and Taube Philanthropies, today, on the 75th anniversary of the first major international war crimes trial ending, a significant new collection of digital materials will be made available to the public. Launching October 1 is an expanded repository of digital records from Nuremberg, a collaborative effort among Stanford University Libraries, the Registry of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, and our center.

Users of the Virtual Tribunals Initiative are able to explore digital surrogates of Nuremberg Trial records that have been converted into digital files, and rendered fully text-searchable using optical character recognition technology. “Our intention is to make these trial archives visible to the world, via the web, using the best technology we can find, build, adopt or adapt to make scholarship easier on very complex archives,” said Michael Keller, the Ida M. Green University Librarian at Stanford.

The transcripts feature compelling testimony from survivors and witnesses. “Testimony is ultimately human narratives, and it means a lot to help keep those voices alive through time and space so that we can learn from history and hopefully better understand the implications of atrocities carried out in different cultural and historical contexts,” said Penelope Van Tuyl, associate director of the Center for Human Rights and International Justice

By exploring previous international or domestic trials, tribunals, and commissions, people – from policymakers to human rights activists – can see what was successful in previous investigations or prosecutions, where there were failures, and how such defeats can be avoided in the future.

“Our aim is to create a resource that enables users to draw on that experience and knowledge in ways that can assist governments, institutions and experts in improving how we achieve accountability for mass atrocity crimes,” said David Cohen, director of the Stanford Center for Human Rights and International Justice.

This news item was developed from a full-length Stanford News article by Melissa De Witte.