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Montenegrin students expand their knowledge of the ICTY

Rožaje, 5 May 2014

Registry Liaison Officer Morgiana Brading today travelled to the ‘30 September’ high school in Rožaje, Montenegro, where she gave a presentation on the ICTY’s mandate and work to around 40 students and three teachers.

A philosophy teacher introduced the topic by mentioning the importance of the international community and international humanitarian law. He suggested that the importance of the ICTY’s fight against impunity for war crimes could not be overestimated. “No one in the former Yugoslavia ever thought they could or would be prosecuted for the horrible crimes they committed; they all thought they were above the law,” he said.

After Morgiana had spoken about the ICTY’s role in prosecuting and defining sexual violence as a crime under international law, several students said they thought that this was possibly the most important thing the ICTY had ever done. Following a very fruitful debate that included Dubrovnik and Foča trials, the presentation ended with a long discussion about the genocide in Srebrenica. Although the students were very well informed about this crime they wanted to know more about the background and lead up to the execution of over 8,000 men and boys in Srebrenica. Morgiana gave a detailed account of the general situation in the enclave leading up to the crimes and then talked about the facts established before the ICTY in several trials.

Students and teachers all agreed that the presentation gave them an important opportunity to talk about the conflicts, reconciliation and international justice.

One of the teachers concluded: “Although our students were born years after the wars in the former Yugoslavia they see this as an important part of their history. This presentation informed them about some facts they were not aware of and provided them the space to discuss and reflect on these issues.”