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Memento : Issue 16
january 2001 memento 7 'With East Timor, the attempted coup in Fiji and the upheavals in the Solomon Islands, the reality of war crimes has been brought closer to Australian consciousness and Australian soil.' Jason drew on his experiences at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, to look behind the scenes at the prosecution of war crimes. In par ticular, he discussed the case of a 22-year-old man who was forced to take par t in the execution of 1500 innocent civilians in the Balkans. He challenged the audience to imagine themselves in the moral and human dilemmas that often accompany armed conflict. And ultimately to question the meaning of justice in a context where our ver y under standing of right and wrong is pushed to the limit. Reconciliation, the Republic, and international justice -- all vital issues for Australia as we enter the new millennium. These three eminent Australians left us with great food for thought and an insight into their vision for the nation. 'George, it is a tremendous pinnacle from which to retire', said the Hon. Peter McGauran, Minister for the Arts and the Centenary of Federation, when farewelling George Nichols as Director-General of the National Archives of Australia, and from the Australian Public Service. The Minister hosted the farewell in the Archives Treasures Gallery in November in the company of 90 senior colleagues and friends. The Minister reviewed George's achievements, from a distinguished career in the Public Service, notably in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, to his appointment as Director-General of the National Archives in 1990. He spoke of the passion and conviction about the importance of archives that George brought to the position. Neville Stevens, Secretary of the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, agreed with the Minister 's sentiment, describing George as an unabashed salesman. He cited George's nomination of the most important legacy to the new century as being the nation's archives! The Minister reflected that, in his decade as Director-General, George had crafted a vision and established a leadership role for the Archives. This could be seen in the list of his achievements, including a headquarters building in the parliamentary zone, vibrant exhibitions and programs to increase public access to the Archives, a 300% increase in reference inquiries, innovative approaches to the management of electronic records resulting in the e-permanence range of tools for agencies, and a new focus on the management of the Archives national collection. The Minister concluded his tribute to George's contribution to the Archives by saying, 'It is thanks to you that the Archives is now far better known, appreciated and respected by the public, by government agencies and by the profession.' A time of his choosing George Nichols and the Hon. Peter McGauran, Minister for the Arts and the Centenary of Federation, at the former Director-General's farewell. Helen Cross and Tonia Vincent hold a framed collection of invitations to many Archives exhibitions, openings and book launches, which was presented to George. Photo by Steve Keough Desert Flower by Balarinji