Video and Witnessing at the International Criminal Tribunal for 
the Former Yugoslavia

Authored by: Sandra Ristovska

The Routledge Companion to Media and Human Rights

Print publication date:  June  2017
Online publication date:  July  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138665545
eBook ISBN: 9781315619835
Adobe ISBN:


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Visual imagery has long facilitated the act of bearing witness as the backbone of humanitarian and human rights communication. Many examples exist. Humanitarian activism in the 1870s in response to Ottoman atrocities in the Balkans and famine in Southern India rested on images (Twomey 2012). The campaign to end colonial brutalities in Congo at the turn of the 20th century first used the term ‘crimes against humanity’, utilizing photographs as indispensable evidentiary materials (Sliwinski 2011). The campaign to raise awareness about and provide relief to the survivors of the Armenian genocide was organized around screenings of a film titled Ravished Armenia (Torchin 2012). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was drafted in 1948 in the echo of the mass circulation of photographs depicting the Holocaust. A year later, UNESCO organized a traveling Human Rights Exhibition that relied upon images to communicate the significance of the UDHR. Needless to say, this longstanding practice continues to present day.

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