May 25, 2022

Stanford Libraries Launches Digital Library to Preserve and Broaden Access to War Crime Documents

From Stanford University Libraries:

A new online Virtual Tribunals resource developed by Stanford Libraries in collaboration with the WSD HANDA Center for Human Rights and International Justice has launched, making records from 105 cases investigated by the Special Panel for Serious Crimes (SPSC) in East Timor widely accessible. The SPSC East Timor collection includes final judgments from 55 cases that reached verdict on charges such as murder, rape, and crimes against humanity, all of which have been rendered searchable and assigned a persistent URL in order to remain always accessible despite an ever-changing Web environment.

Plans are underway to expand the Virtual Tribunals site and incorporate additional collections of international criminal trial records from World War II, as well as post-conflict justice proceedings in Cambodia, Rwanda, Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone, and others.



“Ensuring public access to the records of international criminal proceedings that deal with mass atrocity is vital both for purposes of accountability, but also for learning from the past and developing policy-oriented research for future international justice undertakings,” said David Cohen, the WSD-HANDA Professor in Human Rights and International Justice at Stanford.

Cohen’s involvement in war crimes tribunals began in the mid 1990’s with a project to collect the records of the national war crimes programs conducted in approximately 20 countries in Europe and Asia after WWII. It was his work with transitional justice initiatives and tribunal monitoring programs that resulted in preserving the entire SPSC-East Timor collection.


In partnership with Stanford Libraries, which has developed an integrated digital discovery environment for the project and manages the trial records in the Stanford Digital Repository, Cohen works closely with global entities and public policy organizations to serve as a support in making their documents more easily accessible, turning the documents into educational and research tools for both domestic and international audiences.

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Direct to Virtual Tribunals Resource

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.