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Serbian students learn about the ICTY practice

Belgrade, 15 and 16 December 2014

The Outreach Programme organised two guest lectures for students of the Law Faculty and Faculty of Political Sciences in Belgrade, Serbia on 15 and 16 December. Around 60 students in total attended the ICTY court officer Ljiljana Hellman’s presentation on genocide, crimes against humanity and command responsibility in the practice of the ICTY.

Ljiljana spent more than two hours with each group and the students appreciated the opportunity to discuss these topics with someone who has first-hand experience of working on ICTY cases. One student asked: "What can you tell us about the contribution of the ICTY to the development of international humanitarian law?" and Ljiljana, among other things, talked about the development of the concept of genocide and the fact that one of the main achievements of the ICTY was helping define wartime sexual violence as a crime under international law.

While discussing command responsibility, the ICTY cases relating to war crimes committed in Vukovar and Central Bosnia provided some concrete background to how this category is dealt with in the courtroom. The group compared the practice of the ICTY and the war crimes courts in the region, but also the role the ICTY played in the development of other ad hoc tribunals and the ICC.

Although the students expressed some of their frustrations over slow and sometimes controversial impact that war crimes trials had on public opinion in the region, the overall conclusion was that it is necessary to deal with the past human rights violations in order to move towards a peaceful future.