Unictr - International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
Challenging Impunity
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
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About the ICTR Library 

I. Mandate and Objectives of the Library

The Legal and Reference Library is one of the most recent Sections of the ICTR to be established. It was inaugurated in May 1998, although it existed earlier in an embryonic form. It is part of the Judicial and Legal Services Division, under the responsibility of the Deputy-Registrar.

The Section includes two units:

  • The Main Library in Arusha;
  • The Outreach Information & Documentation Centre Umusanzu in Kigali.

The Library’s mandate is to provide, assist and make available to, the Trial Chambers, the Registry, the Office of the Prosecutor, Defense counsels, legal officers and all the staff of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the information and documentation they require to accomplish their duties.

Given its location in East Africa, the Library increasingly receives information requests from law societies, legal institutions and universities of the host country and its neighbors. The ICTR library is rapidly establishing itself as the Legal Reference Library in the sub-region.

The ICTR library is responsible for:
  • Developing and implementing the ICTR's documentation and information policy;
  • Devising policy regarding the acquisition of books and periodicals holdings;
  • Maintaining the documentary resources of the ICTR, especially the official documents and publications of the ICTR;
  • Responding to all requests for information and documentation emanating from within the ICTR and elsewhere (Organizations of the United Nations System, international and non-governmental organizations, Diplomatic Missions, national institutions, etc.);
  • Preparing and disseminating documentary materials (bibliographies, compilation of documents, CD-ROMs, etc.).
II. Introduction to the Library
The ICTR Library is located within the premises of the Tribunal at the Arusha International Conference Centre, in the K-109A room of the Kilimanjaro wing.
The library in Arusha is equipped with the following facilities:
  • 1 Reading room ; seating capacity of 15
  • 1 Periodicals Reading room ; seating capacity of 6
  • 1 Cyberspace with 12 workstations
  • 1 Audio visual room ; seating capacity of 6
  • Offices for Library staff.
This represents a total seating capacity of 33 for library users.
A. Holdings
Being a specialized legal Library, the ICTR Library holdings include reference books and legal texts in the following fields:
  • International law
  • International criminal law
  • International humanitarian law
  • International criminal courts
  • Criminal law and law in general
  • Human Rights
  • Decisions of international and national courts.
Currently the holdings number nearly 15,000 volumes in the main Library and its Kigali branch.
Apart from these holdings, there is a significant collection of legal and general yearbooks and reviews, including news journals and magazines.
The Library also holds audiovisual documents.
B. Users' Services
The ICTR Library, whose motto is "Courtesy, Quality, Speed and Efficiency" intends to keep abreast of the new technological innovations in as sensitive a field as that of information and documentation, and offers its users a Reference Service geared primarily at providing satisfactory assistance to users.
With our research tools, such as the ICTR database, Westlaw, Lexis-Nexis, JSTOR, Hein Online, and through the network with our partner libraries, almost all information requests are adequately met.
1. Types of Searches and Assistance 

The Library's Reference Service is available for all kinds of information searches, both in the legal and other fields.

The Library’s staff will gladly respond to information requests and try to provide satisfactory service to our library users, examples of which are:

  • A specific subject on humanitarian law, e.g. cases of prosecution of persons who have violated the Geneva Conventions;
  • A bibliography on international criminal jurisdictions;
  • Legal decisions on war crimes, etc.
External information requests are welcome, depending on the availability of the Reference staff.
2. Online Services
The ICTR Library offers its users access to numerous specialized databases, using internet and CD-ROMs. Among the online legal services provided are Westlaw, Lexis-Nexis, JSTOR, Hein Online etc. They do not only allow access to legal literature but also to news, national and international court decisions, legal yearbooks, handbooks, etc.
The Library also offers an access to the databases of the United Nations, making it possible to access thousands of official and non-official documents published by the UN Secretariat, its different organs, and specialized agencies.
Interested Staff Members can apply to ictrlib@un.org for ID and password.
3. The ICTR bibliographic database
The ICTR has its own online catalogue: The staff of the Tribunal connecting to the Internet from the Arusha offices, can access this catalogue using the following link:
4. The Cyberspace
Since the new information technologies (online databases, Internet, CD-ROMs, etc.) and multimedia systems have revolutionized the world of libraries in particular and that of information in general, the Library is offering its users a Cyberspace service with twelve workstations in order to facilitate access to information and to legal databases.
5. The Audiovisual room
An audiovisual library is operational enabling users to watch videocassettes on the genocide, documentaries on war crimes, as well as on the trial proceedings in Arusha, at The Hague, and of the Nuremberg Tribunal. The space also houses the television productions made on the ICTR by various TV channels.
6. Information Dissemination
The library regularly sends information to users so that they can keep abreast of the events at the Tribunal and have information on new acquisitions or any other developments on issues of interest to the Tribunal.
7. Library publications and information Products
  • A List of Recent Acquisitions featuring Books, official documents and tables of contents pages from legal publications;
  • The ICTR Quarterly Bibliography is drawn from the ICTR database and is becoming a basic reference tool for those interested in international criminal law. It is also an essential instrument for the propagation of the Tribunal’s jurisprudence and is distributed to more than 500 institutions (libraries, NGOs, embassies, courts, ministries, universities). For subscription, please contact ictrlib@un.org;
  • Bibliographies responding to particular information requirements;
  • Compilations of documents.
III. Human and Material Resources
A. Human Resources
The Legal Library and Reference Section currently has 8 staff members, 5 in Arusha and 3 in Kigali.
B. Donations
In the early years, donations of highly valuable documents have been received. from the following countries: Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Sweden (in cooperation with the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian law), etc. and from the following organizations:
  • University of Montreal;
  • Coalition for International Justice;
  • Law School, Trinity College, Dublin.
  • Westlaw, a donation by the WestGroup and the National Bar Association of America; etc.