On this page, you can find the full archives for the UNWCC. Previously held under conditions of extremely restricted access by the UN in New York, these have recently been released by UNARMS, the UN’s archive body, and are here made available online for the first time. These files – accessible under the tabs below – have been fed through an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) process to make them (partially) searchable.

These archives are quite tricky to navigate, containing a wealth of material. As such, we recommend that you use some combination of the UNWCC’s own finding aid, the index to its administrative documents, and our own user’s guide to the UNWCC archives.

Before using these archives, we have several provisos that you should be aware of.

  • These digitised archives are digitally compressed scans of microfilm reels of seventy-year-old typewritten documents that were often poorly cared for at the time, in wartime and post-war Europe and East Asia. As such, while we’ve tried to preserve their clarity as much as possible, in some cases, legibility has suffered. We’ll be rolling out improved versions over time – let us know using the contact link at the top of the page if there’s anything you’re particularly interested in seeing better copies of, and we’ll try to provide!
  • If a document is near-illegible to humans, then a computer isn’t likely to fare much better! This, combined with the fact that there are a very large number of pages, from a wide range of different formats and different types, means that our OCR techniques to make the text searchable aren’t completely accurate to the original text (something you’ll see when looking at the searchable pages). As such, they are provided as an indicative guide to researchers, not a complete textual replica of the original files – generally speaking, a search is likely to pick up some but not all of the search string you are looking for.
  • These are historical documents, produced by a historical organisation, often detailing highly distressing highly alarming instances of criminal activity, and include details of victims, perpetrators, and witnesses. While we believe that making these documents public serves a genuine historical and academic interest and a genuine public good (by providing a valuable early source of international legal precedent and a valuable set of institutional models), we recognise that they also represent a source of potential distress for those with a connection to the events. As such, we ask that you use these documents respectfully and with the recognition that these are sensitive legal documents that were produced by a wartime organisation.
Search the archives

Coming soon!

Charge Files (Reels 1-31)
  • Coming soon!
UNWCC Documents (Reels 32-40)
Lists of accused war criminals (including CROWCASS) (Reels 42-50)
Reports of war crimes trials (Reels 50-115)

The UNWCC archives contain an enormous amount of information – nearly half a terabyte of files, and 450,000 pages. Because of this, we’re still developing our digitisation of them to make them into a useful form for researchers, and increase the clarity of the documentary record. Below is a changelog for the archive that shows the ways we’ve been improving it.

Check back to see what new and improved files we have made public!

Changelog

1.0.0 – 18.2.17 – Digitised / OCR-readable archive uploaded to unwcc.org.