Šabac, 27 March 2012
Outreach representative Morgiana Brading today attended a student debate in Šabac, western Serbia, to discuss the work of the ICTY. Around 30 high school students took part in debate. Before the general discussion began, Morgiana gave her young audience some background information on the establishment of the ICTY and also about the upcoming Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, which will complete the work of the ICTY once the Tribunal has closed its doors.
The students initially said they knew very little about the events that took place in the Balkans during the 1990s, but once the debate warmed up some began to repeat misinformation about the Tribunal, suggesting that it unfairly targeted the Serbs. Morgiana took the opportunity to point to some of the ICTY cases where Serbs had been the victims.
The students were very surprised to learn that sexual violence had not been considered a war crime prior to the conflicts in the Balkans, and Morgiana introduced the group to some of the Tribunal’s groundbreaking trials in that area, including Kunarac et al and the case relating to the Čelebići prison camp.
At the conclusion of the event, a majority of the students agreed that such debates were particularly important for people of their age-group, as exposure to reliable and credible information about their region’s past could help lead them down the road to reconciliation.