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Bosnian Students Learn about their Towns’ War-Time Past

Bijeljina, 12 March 2014

The ICTY Outreach programme continued its long-standing cooperation with the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Republika Srpska (HCHR RS) by organising a two-hour interactive workshop in Bijeljina, BiH, as a part of the project “Open Your Eyes, This is Your Past”. Almir Alić, ICTY Registry Liaison Officer in BiH, introduced a group of 16 high school students from Zvornik and Srebrenica with the fundamental principles of international humanitarian law, underlining the important role that war crimes trials play in the post-conflict recovery of communities in the former Yugoslavia.

Drawing on examples from the Tribunal’s rich jurisprudence, the Bosnian high school students were familiarised with the judicial outcome of the 1992-1995 events in the area of Zvornik, Bratunac and Srebrenica municipalities. The participants of the workshop showed great interest for what had happened in their hometowns during the war, as this was the first time they had a chance to hear about judicial facts presented in a clear manner and with the use of audio-visual materials from the Tribunal’s archives. The students were deeply touched by victims’ testimonies, asking why the sentences were so lenient, and if more people could have been convicted under command responsibility in light of the horrendous nature of crimes committed.

After the presentation, representative of the HCHR RS, Aleksandra Letić, underlined: “For a number of years now, our organisation has been implementing different projects aimed at educating young people about issues related to facing the past. In that sense, discussing the role and importance of the ICTY in rendering justice in BiH is inevitable, while our cooperation with the Tribunal’s Office in Sarajevo in the educational projects is invaluable”.

The HCHR RS will continue the implementation of the “Open Your Eyes, This is Your Past” project with the aim of supporting the young people from Zvornik and Srebrenica in promoting mutual dialogue based on established facts from the war-time past.