Bijeljina, 11 May 2012
Outreach representative Almir Alić today spoke about the ICTY’s role in transitional justice to a group of 20 high school students attending the ‘Human Rights School for Youth’ in Bijeljina, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).
The Human Rights School was organised by the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Republika Srpska and gathered together young people from across the ethnic divide in BiH, specifically from the towns of Doboj Istok, Prnjavor, Lukavac and Bijeljina.
Bijeljina is located in the north-eastern corner of BiH, close to the Serbian border. Due to its strategic location, Bijeljina was the first municipality in the country to be taken over by the Serbs in April 1992. A campaign of terror and killing ensued, with the Serb authorities establishing a regime designed to drive out the non-Serb civilian population.
The students showed a great deal of interest in the presentation, which was followed by a lively discussion on a number of issues, including the use of mitigating and aggravating factors in sentencing, the Tribunal’s completion strategy, and the future of war crimes prosecutions in the region. There was a general agreement among the students that the presentation had greatly expanded their understanding of transitional justice concepts and mechanisms.
One student emailed Almir after the presentation, to say what a “positive impression” he had had on him and his fellow students, and to say that he “wished many more young people could get involved in such information activities, as it would give them new perspectives on the world.”