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No Closure without
Disclosure
Trudy Huskamp Peterson
Access to Archives
Denial of access
Principles of Access to Archives
Denial of access
1. “Those sorts of records were never
created.”
2. “We don’t have those records.”
3. “Those records were destroyed.”
4. “You can’t see those records.”
1. “Never created”
Oral orders: Bosnian Serb Army, 10th
Sabotage Detachment
Bulgarian military hospital records
2. “Don’t have”
Still in hands of creating entity
U.K. colonial records
Taken as personal property
U.S. state investigation of subversive
activities
Stolen
Argentina Tortura Nunca Mas
Kenya court, prosecutor, police
(Can’t find)
3. “Destroyed”
Planned, with archives approval
Natural disaster
Unauthorized human activity
3. “Destroyed” continued
International Council on Archives
“war, civil unrest, fire, flooding or other
catastrophies, simple neglect, lack of
interest, climatic conditions, level of pollution
of the environment, by financial constraints,
by lack of training, by lack of cost-effective
conservation methods”
3. “Destroyed” continued
El Salvador: Pro-Busqueda (NGO)
Czechoslovakia: secret police
U.S.: CIA videos of “waterboarding”
Germany: security service files on neo-Nazis
Niger: anti-corruption investigation files
Tunisia: archives of propaganda ministry
ATCDE
4. “Can’t see”
Privacy
Business information
Personnel information
Investigative information
Statutory and other directed restrictions
National security (governments)
Principles of Access to
Archives
Access is the availability of
records/archives for consultation as a
result both of legal authorization and the
existence of finding aids.
--Dictionary of Archival Terminology, 2nd
Edition
International Council
on Archives
World organization of archival
institutions and archivists
Headquartered in Paris
Standards for finding aids 1994
Access principles 2012
Finding aids
Not described: Korea list of kidnapped
Intentionally vague: USSR rules, Czech film
archives practice
Keep knowledge in the public domain
Principles of Access to Archives
1. The public has the right of
access to archives of public
bodies. Both public and private
entities should open their archives
to the greatest extent possible.
Principle 1: Right of access
Principle 1: Right of access
Marshall Islands: atomic contamination
(government)
Canada: schools for First Nations children
(government and church)
France: railroad transport during World War II
(business)
United States: Boy Scouts of America abuse
(nongovernmental)
2. Institutions holding archives
make known the existence of the
archives, including the existence
of closed materials, and disclose
the existence of restrictions that
affect access to the archives.
Principle 2: Make known
Guatemala: police archives
Argentina: military junta records
US: National Security Council
electronic deletion
Principle 2: Make known
3. Institutions holding archives
adopt a pro-active approach to
access.
Principle 3: Proactive-
approach
Hillsborough Independent Panel
 Disclosed Material and Report
 Browse the disclosed material
 'Browse' allows users to look through the material on this website
organised in a number of different ways, for example according to
the creation date, or who contributed it.
 Material referenced in the Report
 View documents that were used or quoted in the Report.
4. Institutions holding archives
ensure that restrictions on access
are clear and of stated duration, are
based on pertinent legislation,
acknowledge the right of privacy,
and respect the rights of owners of
private materials.
Principle 4: Clear restrictions
The Suprun Case: The Supreme Court
Refuses to Re-Examine the Sentence
12 August, 2013 - 19:55 We have lately received the Statement by a
Judge of the Supreme Court of Russia refusing to satisfy the
administrative appeal against the decision of the Oktyabrsky district
court of Archangelsk from Dec 8, 2011, declaring Mikhail N. Suprun
guilty of unlawful collection and dissemination of information comprising
personal and/or family secrets of a number of individuals.
The main argument of the defending attorney's appeal has been
absence of "personal secret" and/or "family secret" term definition in the
actual national legislation. Due to that, investigative bodies and all court
instances implemented subjective opinions as the only criteria to
declare specific information someone's personal or family secret.
5. Archives are made available
on equal and fair terms.
Principle 5: Equal access
6. Institutions holding archives
ensure that victims of serious
crimes under international law
have access to archives that
provide evidence needed to
assert their human rights and to
document violations of
them, even if those archives are
closed to the general public.
Principle 6: Human rights
Updated Set of Principles on Impunity
“Joinet Report”
United Nations High Commissioner on
Human Rights, 1997, revised 2005
Principle 6: Human rights
Updated Set of Principles on Impunity
Victims, their families and relatives have the
imprescriptible right to know the truth about
the circumstances in which violations took
place and, in the event of death or
disappearance, the victim's fate. (Principle
4)
Principle 6: Human rights
 Updated Set of Principles on Impunity
Access to archives shall be facilitated in
order to enable victims and persons
related to claim their rights. (Principle 15)
Principle 6: Human rights
Updated Set of Principles on Impunity
Access should also be facilitated, as
necessary, for persons implicated [in
perpetrating human rights violations], who
request it for their defence. (Principle 15)
Principle 6: Human rights
 Updated Set of Principles on Impunity
Access to archives should also be
facilitated in the interest of historical
research, subject to reasonable
restrictions aimed at safeguarding the
privacy and security of victims and other
individuals. Formal requirements
governing access may not be used for
purposes of censorship. (Principle 15)
Principle 6: Human rights
Updated Set of Principles on Impunity
The courts and non-judicial commissions of
inquiry, as well as the investigators reporting
to them, must have access to relevant
archives. (Principle 16)
Principle 6: Human rights
Updated Set of Principles on Impunity
All persons shall be entitled to know whether
their name appears in State archives and, if
it does, by virtue of their right of access, to
challenge the validity of the information
concerning them by exercising a right of
reply. (Principle 17(b)
Principle 6: Human rights
Updated Set of Principles on Impunity
Access to the files of commissions of inquiry
must be balanced against the legitimate
expectations of confidentiality of victims and
other witnesses testifying on their behalf . .
(Principle 17(b)
Principle 6: Human rights
7. Users have the right to
appeal a denial of access.
Principle 7: Right to appeal
United Kingdom FOIA statistics 2009
61 appeals from decisions from “departments of state”
42 upheld in full
12 overturned in full
7 overturned in part
United Kingdom FOIA statistics 2011
37 appeals from decisions from “departments of state”
24 upheld in full
5 overturned in full
8 overturned in part
8. Institutions holding archives
ensure that operational
constraints do not prevent
access to archives.
Principle 8: Operational
constraints
Principle 8: Operational
constraints
9. Archivists have access to all
closed archives and perform
necessary archival work on them.
Principle 9: Archivists have
access to closed archives
Records in custody of the United Nations
Truth Commission of El Salvador: closed
indefinitely
Truth Commission of Guatemala: Secretary
General must authorize the opening of
records prior to 1 January 2050
10. Archivists participate in the
decision-making process on
access.
Principle 10: Archivists
participate in access decisions
Conclusion
Laws must ensure creation of records
to document government business
Laws must ensure transfer to archives
Laws must have penalties for
destruction
Vigilance

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No Closure without Disclosure: Access to Archives

  • 2. Access to Archives Denial of access Principles of Access to Archives
  • 3. Denial of access 1. “Those sorts of records were never created.” 2. “We don’t have those records.” 3. “Those records were destroyed.” 4. “You can’t see those records.”
  • 4. 1. “Never created” Oral orders: Bosnian Serb Army, 10th Sabotage Detachment Bulgarian military hospital records
  • 5. 2. “Don’t have” Still in hands of creating entity U.K. colonial records Taken as personal property U.S. state investigation of subversive activities Stolen Argentina Tortura Nunca Mas Kenya court, prosecutor, police (Can’t find)
  • 6. 3. “Destroyed” Planned, with archives approval Natural disaster Unauthorized human activity
  • 7. 3. “Destroyed” continued International Council on Archives “war, civil unrest, fire, flooding or other catastrophies, simple neglect, lack of interest, climatic conditions, level of pollution of the environment, by financial constraints, by lack of training, by lack of cost-effective conservation methods”
  • 8. 3. “Destroyed” continued El Salvador: Pro-Busqueda (NGO) Czechoslovakia: secret police U.S.: CIA videos of “waterboarding” Germany: security service files on neo-Nazis Niger: anti-corruption investigation files Tunisia: archives of propaganda ministry ATCDE
  • 9. 4. “Can’t see” Privacy Business information Personnel information Investigative information Statutory and other directed restrictions National security (governments)
  • 10. Principles of Access to Archives Access is the availability of records/archives for consultation as a result both of legal authorization and the existence of finding aids. --Dictionary of Archival Terminology, 2nd Edition
  • 11. International Council on Archives World organization of archival institutions and archivists Headquartered in Paris Standards for finding aids 1994 Access principles 2012
  • 12. Finding aids Not described: Korea list of kidnapped Intentionally vague: USSR rules, Czech film archives practice Keep knowledge in the public domain
  • 13. Principles of Access to Archives
  • 14. 1. The public has the right of access to archives of public bodies. Both public and private entities should open their archives to the greatest extent possible.
  • 15. Principle 1: Right of access
  • 16. Principle 1: Right of access Marshall Islands: atomic contamination (government) Canada: schools for First Nations children (government and church) France: railroad transport during World War II (business) United States: Boy Scouts of America abuse (nongovernmental)
  • 17. 2. Institutions holding archives make known the existence of the archives, including the existence of closed materials, and disclose the existence of restrictions that affect access to the archives.
  • 18. Principle 2: Make known Guatemala: police archives Argentina: military junta records US: National Security Council electronic deletion
  • 20. 3. Institutions holding archives adopt a pro-active approach to access.
  • 21. Principle 3: Proactive- approach Hillsborough Independent Panel  Disclosed Material and Report  Browse the disclosed material  'Browse' allows users to look through the material on this website organised in a number of different ways, for example according to the creation date, or who contributed it.  Material referenced in the Report  View documents that were used or quoted in the Report.
  • 22. 4. Institutions holding archives ensure that restrictions on access are clear and of stated duration, are based on pertinent legislation, acknowledge the right of privacy, and respect the rights of owners of private materials.
  • 23. Principle 4: Clear restrictions The Suprun Case: The Supreme Court Refuses to Re-Examine the Sentence 12 August, 2013 - 19:55 We have lately received the Statement by a Judge of the Supreme Court of Russia refusing to satisfy the administrative appeal against the decision of the Oktyabrsky district court of Archangelsk from Dec 8, 2011, declaring Mikhail N. Suprun guilty of unlawful collection and dissemination of information comprising personal and/or family secrets of a number of individuals. The main argument of the defending attorney's appeal has been absence of "personal secret" and/or "family secret" term definition in the actual national legislation. Due to that, investigative bodies and all court instances implemented subjective opinions as the only criteria to declare specific information someone's personal or family secret.
  • 24. 5. Archives are made available on equal and fair terms.
  • 26. 6. Institutions holding archives ensure that victims of serious crimes under international law have access to archives that provide evidence needed to assert their human rights and to document violations of them, even if those archives are closed to the general public.
  • 27. Principle 6: Human rights Updated Set of Principles on Impunity “Joinet Report” United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights, 1997, revised 2005
  • 28. Principle 6: Human rights Updated Set of Principles on Impunity Victims, their families and relatives have the imprescriptible right to know the truth about the circumstances in which violations took place and, in the event of death or disappearance, the victim's fate. (Principle 4)
  • 29. Principle 6: Human rights  Updated Set of Principles on Impunity Access to archives shall be facilitated in order to enable victims and persons related to claim their rights. (Principle 15)
  • 30. Principle 6: Human rights Updated Set of Principles on Impunity Access should also be facilitated, as necessary, for persons implicated [in perpetrating human rights violations], who request it for their defence. (Principle 15)
  • 31. Principle 6: Human rights  Updated Set of Principles on Impunity Access to archives should also be facilitated in the interest of historical research, subject to reasonable restrictions aimed at safeguarding the privacy and security of victims and other individuals. Formal requirements governing access may not be used for purposes of censorship. (Principle 15)
  • 32. Principle 6: Human rights Updated Set of Principles on Impunity The courts and non-judicial commissions of inquiry, as well as the investigators reporting to them, must have access to relevant archives. (Principle 16)
  • 33. Principle 6: Human rights Updated Set of Principles on Impunity All persons shall be entitled to know whether their name appears in State archives and, if it does, by virtue of their right of access, to challenge the validity of the information concerning them by exercising a right of reply. (Principle 17(b)
  • 34. Principle 6: Human rights Updated Set of Principles on Impunity Access to the files of commissions of inquiry must be balanced against the legitimate expectations of confidentiality of victims and other witnesses testifying on their behalf . . (Principle 17(b)
  • 36. 7. Users have the right to appeal a denial of access.
  • 37. Principle 7: Right to appeal United Kingdom FOIA statistics 2009 61 appeals from decisions from “departments of state” 42 upheld in full 12 overturned in full 7 overturned in part United Kingdom FOIA statistics 2011 37 appeals from decisions from “departments of state” 24 upheld in full 5 overturned in full 8 overturned in part
  • 38. 8. Institutions holding archives ensure that operational constraints do not prevent access to archives.
  • 41. 9. Archivists have access to all closed archives and perform necessary archival work on them.
  • 42. Principle 9: Archivists have access to closed archives Records in custody of the United Nations Truth Commission of El Salvador: closed indefinitely Truth Commission of Guatemala: Secretary General must authorize the opening of records prior to 1 January 2050
  • 43. 10. Archivists participate in the decision-making process on access.
  • 45. Conclusion Laws must ensure creation of records to document government business Laws must ensure transfer to archives Laws must have penalties for destruction Vigilance