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Human rights defenders from Serbia learn about the Tribunal

Babe, 23 April 2014

The Youth Initiative for Human Rights Serbia (YIHR), an NGO dedicated to working with young people on issues of facing the past, today organised a training session for young human rights defenders, in the village of Babe, near Sopot in central Serbia.  

The ICTY Outreach representative in Serbia, Morgiana Brading, was invited to speak to the participants – twenty students from several universities across Serbia - about the mandate, work and achievements of the ICTY and the MICT. Morgiana introduced her audience to a number of cases heard before the ICTY, namely those related to the crimes committed in Prijedor, Foča, Dubrovnik, Čelebići and central Bosnia.

The discussion which followed turned out to be very interesting, with the students asking numerous questions, e.g. about the trials of well-known regional figures such as Vojislav Šešelj and Ramush Haradinaj.

The young people said that none of them had ever read any of the ICTY’s judgements and that all they are informed about through the media are the sentences handed down. Morgiana explained that the judgements are very extensive and provide a detailed picture and a large number of judicially established facts about what happened in a city or an area where the crimes were committed.

One of the students asked: "Shouldn't we be insisting that everything we learned today, everything that the ICTY has confirmed as a fact in its trials and everything that is written in its judgements, be included in history books across the region? Shouldn’t this be something that unites us all?"

At the conclusion of the event, a number of the students suggested that there should be wider access to such presentations and discussions with ICTY staff, and also said that they would like to help organise them, allowing more of their contemporaries to gain first-hand information on a subject which still has an impact on young people in the region.