On 13 July 2017, 15 postgraduate students from New York University (NYU) visited the field office of the International Criminal Tribunal of the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), for a briefing on the work of the Tribunal.
As an introduction, the ICTY representative in BiH, Almir Alić, provided the students with an overview of trials concerning war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide held before the Tribunal. He further talked about the Tribunal’s legacy and its contribution to the strengthening of judicial institutions in the region that deal with crimes committed during the wars in the 1990s. Mr Alić also presented the work of the ICTY Outreach Programme, emphasising the value of outreach and education activities in assisting the region to come to terms with its past.
The second part of the briefing focused on the role of victims and witnesses in proceedings before the Tribunal. ICTY support officer Ms Sara Rubert presented the results of a pilot study called “Echoes of Testimonies” to the students, which examined the long-term impact of testifying before the ICTY. The two-hour presentation generated much interest in the students, resulting in numerous questions related to the closure of the ICTY and the continuation of trials before national courts.
The students were also keen to learn more about the role of judicial institutions in the process of dealing with the past and the Outreach Programme’s experience with high school students, especially those in segregated school systems.