Using the WCRO Jurisprudence Collections

A few preliminary notes:


The WCRO Jurisprudence Collections are best viewed in Internet Explorer. You will need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your system in order to view most documents. (To download a free version of Acrobat Reader, click here.)

The Jurisprudence Collections are a series of collections of jurisprudence from various international/ized courts and tribunals. While most of these documents are available on court websites, they are not consistently organized, nor are they easily searched. The WCRO has developed a method of organizing, labeling and filing nearly 10,000 documents into what we hope will be an intuitive and useful file structure. Where necessary, we have also converted files to maximize search ability and compatibility with browser types.

As you use the Collections, please do not hesitate to contact us at warcrimes@wcl.american.edu with any questions or comments about your experience with the WCRO Jurisprudence Collections.

You may choose to use the Collections either by browsing for desired document (e.g. to look at outcomes from a particular case), or by searching for specific terminology. Details about both processes are outlined below.

1. File types
2. File naming conventions
3. Structure of the Collections
4. Redirecting
4. Notes about ICC documents
5. Searching the Collections

 

File types

The Collections contain documents in two different file formats:

1. PDF: All files from the ICC and ECCC, and many recent files from the ICTR, ICTY and SCSL are in PDF format. To view these files, ensure that you have Adobe Reader downloaded to your computer.  The use of PDF files allows near-universal access to the Collections and regularized document formatting. However, some of these files have been scanned as image files by the courts, thus compromising their ability to be word-searched. We have converted these documents to searchable format, but their functionality may be compromised.

Click here to see an example of a word-searchable PDF document

2. MHT: The ICTY, ICTR and SCSL traditionally saved their court documents as HTML-based web pages. For years, these files were saved into the jurisprudence Collections by converting the files to MHT, which is a web archive file type. MHTs are useful in that they preserve the internal links and images from web pages—this is particularly useful in long decision documents with a table of contents and internal links to endnotes. MHT files are also word-searchable. However, MHT files are not always printer-friendly and many browsers do not support this file type. To ensure ease of use, we recommend that you browse the Collections in Internet Explorer. If you are using the Jurisprudence Collections with Mozilla Firefox or another web browser, you may have to open MHT files in a separate Internet Explorer window. If you are using an Apple computer with OS X, please contact us to troubleshoot options for accessing the Collections.

Click here to see an example of an MHT file with internal links
(Use this example to test your web browser’s compatibility with the Collections.)

As we receive feedback from users of the Collections, we will upgrade the files to maximize text-searching while working toward broadest possible compatibility.

Again, in the meantime, for proper viewing of the files, we strongly recommend that you use Internet Explorer to browse the Collections.

 

File naming conventions


The nomenclature is quite specific, and is intended to help users scanning for a particular decisions, judgment, etc. to find it based on file name. A trial chamber decision from October 8, 1997 related to the “Bagambiki et al” case is labeled:

1997-10-08, Bagambiki et al-TC Dec Cnfrm Indict

Note that the date is listed (with the year first, followed by the month and then the day), a comma, then the name(s) of the defendant(s), then a hyphen, then TC, AC, PTC, Pres, etc. (depending on where the decision, order, etc. was made), followed by part of the title of the court document. Many of the documents have very long names, and these have been shortened to allow compatibility with various operating systems and transfer media.

 

Structure of the Collections


Most of the courts that are updated regularly have documents filed under two major folders:

Statutes, Rules & Docs: Contains statutes, rules and other documents (such as background information, reports and completion strategies) for the courts and tribunals.

Judgments, Orders & Indictments: This is the folder containing the bulk of the jurisprudence for each particular court.

1. For the ICTR, ICTY, Special Court for Sierra Leone and Special Panels for East Timor, following this link will bring you to a list of links are organized by case (delineated by accused name and case number).

2. Following the link for a particular name will bring up a list of types of documents, such as case summary, decisions, indictments, judgments, orders etc.

3. Following the link for a particular type of document will bring you either to a page where you can open the document itself (such as an indictment), or to an option to view documents by the issuing chamber (such as a decision from the appeals chamber).

 

Redirecting


In some courts, individuals are tried as a group with other defendants. This is most common in the ICTY. When this is the case, clicking on the name of an accused individual, for example, “Alagic” in the ICTY, will bring up a link stating, “see_Hadzihasanovic_et_al_(Cntrl_Bos)_IT-01-47.” These links are currently inactive; the easiest way to find the documents you want is to hit “back” in your web browser and scan the list for the desired name—in this case, the folder containing the “Hadzihasanovic et al. files. In the future, these folders will be linked for more intuitive redirecting.

 

Notes about ICC documents

Structure of the ICC documents: The ICC distinguishes between situations and cases when investigating conflicts. Within the ICC jurisprudence Collections, documents are organized first by situation. The ICC defines a “situation,” as including an unspecified number of criminal incidents by unknown perpetrators in a particular territory during a certain period of time. Currently, there are four situations under investigation by the ICC: the Central African Republic, Darfur, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. Within each of the four situation folders are folders leading to documents relating to decisions, orders, submissions etc.  A “case” comprises specific incidents with identified suspects. Case-specific documents, if they exist, the “accused” folder of each situation. Within the accused folders, documents are organized in much the same way as they are within the folders for other courts.

Submissions: Unlike other courts and tribunals, the ICC makes submission documents publicly available. These are included in the WCRO Collections.

French-language files: These are particularly common in the ICC documents. Documents in French are uploaded only when an English translation is unavailable; when an English translation is released by the Court, the French version will be replaced.

 

Searching the Collections

While documents in the Collections can be accessed by browsing through the folder structure described above, the real value of the Collections lies in the ability of users to search documents across courts and tribunals, rather than be limited to searching within the individual court websites.