News in English     | 06.06.2023. 19:00 |

Ohranović: A number of preconditions needed in order to take over the archives of the Hague Tribunal

FENA Fedzad Forto, Photo: Harun Muminović

SARAJEVO, June 6 (FENA) - Apart from media inquiries, the Archives of Bosnia and Herzegovina did not have any official correspondence related to the takeover of the archives of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Fuad Ohranović, deputy director of the Archives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said in an interview for FENA.

On May 31, the Mechanism for International Criminal Courts (IRMCT), as the successor of the ICTY, delivered the final verdict in the case against the former heads of the Serbian State Security Service, Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović, ending the work of the Hague Tribunal that began in 1993.

As Ohranović emphasizes, there are a lot of prerequisites that must be met before taking over the archival material, if at all there is a decision that BiH would be the one to take over the material.

"On the legal side, the regulations related to that archival material must be fully regulated. What we don't know today, apart from bidding on numbers, is how many archival materials there are. What we have through media reports and some statements is that it involves tens of millions of documents and thousands of hours of video footage. It is a huge archive material," he said.

In order to even discuss taking over that material, there must first be some sort of agreement at the state level, that is, official state institutions to enter into that project.

"We need to know how much archival material there is so that eventually, and I am referring to Bosnia and Herzegovina, we could prepare the facilities where that archival material would be stored, to prepare the people who will work on processing, organizing the material, working with the parties that will come as interested parties in that type of material. These are all preconditions that must be met before any kind of takeover of those archival materials," says Ohranović.

The Archives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, he emphasized, as the first and oldest archival institution in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as a state institution that takes care of the state institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina and materials of state importance, did not officially receive any correspondence, but as the deputy director, he personally believes that Bosnia and Herzegovina should take over those archives, of course in agreement with the competent authorities.

The ICTY was established by the United Nations, it was a supranational body, so first of all an agreement must be reached with them.

The fact is, he warns, is that most archives in BiH have problems with the storage of archival materials, including the Archives of BiH.

"We have full capacities for receiving archival material from the current jurisdiction, which we must solve in the coming years, to find a space for receiving archival material of the BiH institutions. Other archives have similar problems, such as the Archive of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina or the Historical Archive of Sarajevo, which even has one demolished building, where the building itself is at risk. We must not allow ourselves to get into a situation where we enter into this project without first knowing what our options are when it comes to the storage of the archival material," he said.

He emphasizes that this is not just about placing documents on the shelves. There are archival standards that must be respected, such as air temperature and air humidity in the depots, so that we do not end up in a situation where in 10-15 years that archival material gets ruined in Bosnia and Herzegovina after it has been taken over by the Hague Tribunal.

He also indicated that a distinction should be made between the digitization of that material, which is already being done by the Hague Court and which is largely available on various platforms on the web.

"In this case, we are talking about the storage of the original archival material," Ohranović concluded in an interview with FENA. 

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