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The witness experience explored at Outreach screening

18 March 2014, Sarajevo

The third of the ICTY Outreach Programme’s documentary features - Through Their Eyes: Witnesses to Justice – was today screened at the Meeting Point cinema in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The screening, which attracted significant media attention, was also attended by members of the victims community, other NGOs,  representatives of academia and Bosnian judicial bodies, and  members of the general public. Following the screening, the attendees engaged in a prolonged debate about the experience of testifying before an international criminal tribunal.

During the debate, a former ICTY witness and one of the protagonists in the film, Ms Minka Čehajić, said: “I felt it was my moral duty to come before the court and testify and I felt deep satisfaction for doing that. I have no doubt that I would do it again, if required.”

In her comments after the screening, Ms Munira Subašić, president of the Association of Mothers of the Enclaves of Žepa and Srebrenica, said: “My testimony [before the Court of BiH] gave me an opportunity to answer some of the questions I was asking myself. Sometimes, I would lay awake at night and ask myself some questions and the next day I would answer them in court. And it was worth it.”

The discussion that followed the screening shed a light on some of the issues witnesses may face at the ICTY, but also before local courts, notably the issue of security. Outreach representatives explained some of the protection procedures in place at the Tribunal, but also emphasised the importance of cooperation with security forces in the region in providing the best possible protection for witnesses.

The reception which concluded the event provided an opportunity to discuss, in a less formal athmosphere, the importance to future generations of access to the Tribunal's archives, as well as the lasting value the Outreach Programme's films will offer to generations of students, researchers and other parties interested in learning about the work of the ICTY and the importance of witness testimony.