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Ukraine War Archive calls on photographers to contribute to the database of Russian war crimes

Ukraine War Archive interviewer Roman Synchuk documents the aftermath of hostilities on the outskirts of the village of Dmytrivka. Kyiv region. Summer of 2023. Photo by Taras Lazer

To create an archive of the most documented war in the world. This idea has been implemented by NGOs Docudays and Infoscope since the beginning of the full-scale invasion. The goal is to create a database of systematic digital evidence of Russia's war crimes and to preserve eyewitness accounts of the war. The founders of the Ukraine War Archive platform are convinced that the facts collected since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in the form of various digital materials will contribute to justice and the achievement of justice in the future.

"This is still our future. This is our history. There has never been such a documented war in the past, and perhaps this is what will help us show our true history in the future. Thanks to such a document, we will be able to avoid various significant manipulations," explains Serhiy Ilyashenko, an interviewer at the War Archive and photographer. According to him, history is always distorted and interpreted by various resources in a way that suits them.

He emphasises that the Ukraine War Archive is a non-profit organisation. All copyrights to the content that gets into the Archive remain with the person who submits the materials. The Ukraine War Archive does not buy the rights to the materials. However, a cooperation agreement is signed between both parties. The Archive is protected and not public.

"The primary idea is to take information from the primary source, that is, from people who participated in certain events, became victims or witnesses of certain crimes, etc. This is an accumulation of information from primary sources, from people who were at a certain time and place. It is also analysed. For example, you can take information from different unrelated sources and then you can better see the overall picture of the situation. There are no mounted parts. This is precisely what is done to make it a legally binding document," emphasises Serhii.

Most of the materials are documented from people who were under occupation, who had any direct contact with representatives of the Russian Federation or the so-called LPR and DPR on the territory of Ukraine, who were in captivity, etc.

The War Archive is a non-public resource. It can be accessed after certain verification and authorisation. The information is protected by three levels of access to materials that exist in multiple copies. The team of the Archive employs 50 permanent specialists, as well as volunteers.

Currently, the registered users include the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Helsinki Union, the Kharkiv Human Rights Group, as well as media outlets that conduct investigations and prepare reports from the de-occupied territories. In particular, the project team actively participates in European forums and events to attract more international organisations for cooperation.

The founders of the War Archive call on Ukrainian documentary photographers to join the project in adding to the databases of evidence of Russian crimes on the territory of Ukraine. You can send materials or contact the project team on the website.


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