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Ukraine War Archive: with EU support, the Docudays NGO collects video evidence of war-related events in Ukraine

NGO Docudays with the financial support of the European Union is launching a website of the Ukraine War Archive initiative. This initiative aims to collect video and audio evidence of war. The new website will help upload materials in a more convenient way and share information about the project. The team of the initiative collects, verifies, categorises and systemarises large volumes of video footage so that evidence of crimes is not lost in information streams and is available for usage in the media, cultural, and legal fields. Access to the Archive itself will be available later upon request.

Tetyana Shulha, Sector Manager for Culture, Youth, Sports and Gender at the EU Delegation to Ukraine said: “We find this project of crucial importance. The European Union countries know a lot about the significance of keeping  the evidences of lives taken, families separated, heritage turned into ashes. Not a single crime shall go unreported, undocumented in the most precise manner and eventually unpaid.  This is Ukraine’s history in making, a story the world needs to hear”.

Ukraine War Archive (UWA) is a united database of video and audio materials that document the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Since February 24, 2022, millions of Ukrainians have become witnesses and victims of the biggest war in Europe in decades. Fortunately, most people now have recording devices that can capture every scene and every crime of this war. Ukraine War Archive is set to collect all those bits of evidence, catalogue them, and make sure nothing is left unnoticed and unaddressed. This archive is set to tell the world what it’s like to live through this war.

“In order to document as comprehensive and as accurate a picture as possible, to collect evidence of war crimes, we need to consolidate and work together. The War Archive aims to combine the efforts of those who work on the side of truth, justice, and protecting Ukraine’s interests,” said Maria Buchelnikova, Project Coordinator for the Ukraine War Archive.

Anybody can become a contributor to the Ukraine War Archive: you just need to upload your files and specify additional information (name, date, location, etc.). Read how to do this on the project website.

The initiative collects materials covering life and routine during the war, civilian resistance against the aggressor, evacuation or the experience of staying in bomb shelters, destruction, violence and other crimes committed by the Russian army in the Ukrainian territory, as well as other footage filmed during the war which seems important to people. Among other things, users are urged to report on gender-based violence and the situation of women during the war. The initiative guarantees full confidentiality to the authors of the submitted materials.

The archive is constructed according to the international standards of using materials as evidence in the International Criminal Court. The database has security certification against unsanctioned access as well as several reserve copies located outside Ukraine.

For the purpose of cataloguing, the team has developed its own system of verification, tagging and description of the data. Maksym Demydenko, the head of Infoscope, a partner organisation which provides technical maintenance for the Archive, who runs the aspect of data collection and research in the project, explains: “After you upload a video, the system automatically makes its reserve copy and converts the file into a convenient format for viewing. Our team of taggers watches the video and adds keywords and specially developed tags to specific time codes, which allows us to categorise the events of the war and record war crimes. This is important, in particular, in order to allow human rights advocates to use the Archive. We are currently working on additional tools for the platform, such as automatic transcription, aggregation of news and messages.”

Another important part of the Archive will also be interviews with witnesses of war crimes and events.

Roman Bondarchuk, Project Manager and Docudays UA Art Director, says: “Our team follows the chronology of the key events of the war day after day, working on adding evidence about them to the Archive. If there isn’t enough video evidence of the event, we look for witnesses and interview them. The methodology for these interviews was developed in cooperation with human rights defenders, psychologists and lawyers, so they will also work as evidence in court.”

Share information about the project and its website so that more people can join the collection of materials that testify to Russia’s crimes against Ukraine.

You can download the project’s press kit at this link.
You can watch a video of the Ukraine War Archive on the
YouTube channel of the Docudays UA Film Festival.

 

Background information:

The Ukrainian War Archive project has been created with the support of ISAR Ednannia as a part of the Urgent EU Support for Civil Society project, with financial support from the European Union, as well as the Sectoral Support for Civil Society Initiative, implemented by ICAP Ednannia in consortium with the Ukrainian Center for Independent Political Research (UCIPR) and the Center for Democracy and Rule of Law (CEDEM) thanks to the sincere support of the American people provided through USAID.

The Ukraine War Archive is supported by the European Union under the House of Europe programme.

With financial support from the Czech organisation People in Need, as a part of the SOS Ukraine initiative.

 

For additional information, please contact Yulia Kartashova via julia.kartashova@docudays.ua +38 097 720 86 09.