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‘Top marks’ for presentation on the Tribunal

Livno, 15 April 2014

Students from the high school in the Bosnian town of Livno today used a guest lecture by Outreach representative Almir Alić as an opportunity to ask numerous questions about the work of the ICTY. “I hardly knew anything about the work of the Tribunal before today,” one 18-year-old admitted afterwards.

During the two-hour workshop, the students were given a wealth of information about Tribunal’s establishment, mandate, organisational structure, and the trials conducted there over the past two decades. The students recognised the importance of war crimes trials in the context of a wider process of facing the past, the devastating consequences of which they still see about them every day.

“One can feel the tensions even today,” said an 18-year-old student. The same student also acknowledged that members of his own ethnic group also committed crimes: “Unfortunately they did, but it is important to face the past and bring the truth to light.”

The topics of the students’ questions ranged from the Tribunal’s sentencing policy and the number of people who had been given terms of life in prison, to the places where those convicted by the ICTY are sent to serve their sentences. One student asked how one can establish that a defendant’s remorse is genuine, whilst another wondered how to be sure that a guilty plea is made voluntary. Almir explained that the Tribunal’s Rule 62bis provides for a number of requirements of which a trial chamber must be satisfied before entering a finding of guilt.

After the presentation, the students shared their positive impressions in a simple, youthful way. “The presentation was good and thorough,” one suggested, while another simply said: “Top marks!”