Mostar, 18 October 2012
The students in the once-divided town of Mostar yesterday shared their common interest for justice, an important step on the path to post-conflict recovery and reconciliation. Young people at the law faculties of the Mostar University and Džemal Bijedić University attended lectures given by Aleksandar Kontić, Head of Transition Unit of the ICTY Office of the Prosecutor (OTP). As expected, the theme of justice and recovery from the violence of war resonated very strongly in this town, the centre of which still bears the visible scars of conflict. The landscape of Mostar is still dominated by destroyed buildings which serve as silent reminders of the importance of peace and co-existence in this turbulent region.
The lectures drew a great crowd, as more that one hundred students from both faculties came to hear about OTP’s contribution to prosecuting those most responsible for war crimes in the former Yugoslavia. Students of the Mostar University, asked a series of questions about genocide, and expressed a deep interest in this particular violation of international humanitarian law. They were keen to learn more about how genocide is defined in international law, and what are the main ICTY judgements regarding this crime. One fourth-year student warned against the danger of genocide denial by politicians who reject legally established facts, and underlined that it is important for reconciliation to arrive at a common interpretation of events.