Rogovo/Rogova, 29 October 2013
The Youth Initiative for Human Rights Kosovo (YIHR KS) today completed a month-long series of presentations in high schools in Kosovo. Following similar events in Pristina, Peć/Peja, Prizren, Štrpce/Shterpce, Podujevo/Podujeva, Suvar Reka/Suhareka and Gnjilane/Gjilan, the final presentation took place in the “Asllan Berisha” Gymnasium in the village of Rogovo/Rogova.
Around 30 students gathered to learn about the ICTY and its role in bringing to justice some of those responsible for crimes committed during the Balkan wars of the 1990s, and how by doing so it had offered a voice to thousands of victims who would otherwise have struggled to be heard. In addition, the work of the Tribunal was also explained within the context of the contribution it has made to international criminal justice.
The students were keen to hear more about cases specifically related to Kosovo, since they are not provided with information on this topic through the course of their normal schoolwork. There were questions about the partial retrial that was ordered in the Haradinaj et al. case of former Kosovo Liberation Army members, which is the ICTY trial with easily the highest profile in Kosovo.
When asked what they though about the ICTY, a number of students said they appreciated that the Tribunal had played a very important role in bringing to justice some of those responsible for wartime crimes, but that the number was very low when compared to the huge number of crimes committed in Kosovo and across the region. The YIHR KS presenters explained that building the capacity of local judiciaries to prosecute war crimes cases was a key plank of the Tribunal’s strategy for securing its legacy across the former Yugoslavia.
The presentation closed with the thanks of the school principal, who praised Outreach’s high school initiative and extended an invitation for the YIHR KS and the ICTY to return for similar events in future.