In a ceremony held today to exchange memoranda of understanding between the ICTY and the City of Sarajevo, a crucial step was taken towards the creation of the first ICTY Information Centre, to be located in the City Hall of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). Judge Fausto Pocar, on behalf of the ICTY, and Sarajevo Mayor Dr. Ivo Komšić exchanged memoranda of understanding outlining the terms and conditions for the establishment of the Centre.
The Tribunal was tasked by the UN Security Council (Resolution 1966 (2010)) to facilitate the establishment of information and documentation centres in the countries of the former Yugoslavia. These centres will provide digital access to electronic copies of all ICTY’s public records and archival material. In addition, the centres will conduct various outreach activities to promote the Tribunal’s legacy. This will help inform the local population and contribute to the handover of the Tribunal’s knowledge and expertise.
Speaking at the ceremony, Judge Pocar highlighted the significance of the creation of information centres by saying “Only a society that is at peace with its past can hope to build peace in its future. It is my sincere wish that the Information Centre in Sarajevo will contribute to this process and provide one additional step of understanding on which to build a better and more peaceful future.”
Mayor Dr. Komšić stressed the relevance of establishing the first ICTY information centre in Sarajevo and stated that "This is a historical moment for our city and the country because we will get one of the most important archives which will enable us to establish the truth about what happened in the 1990s. Without the truth we cannot hope to build peace, stability and a better future in our country."
The memoranda of understanding set out the necessary procedures to be completed before the centre is formally established. They also specify that the Tribunal will support the City of Sarajevo in efforts to secure external donations and raise funds needed to make the centre fully operational. Additionally, the memoranda outline the specific functions of the Centre, including its role as an exhibition platform, support to legal professionals and civil society groups and the implementation of activities to enhance the process of transitional justice through the use of ICTY archival material.
Following the exchange of the memoranda, the Tribunal and the City of Sarajevo will now work together in the coming year to formally establish the Centre in the BiH capital. The Tribunal will also continue with efforts to expand the project to other areas of BiH and other countries of the region.