Sunday, July 16, 2006

Opinion: Why the ICTY is still important.

The ICTY is the venue through which the most serious war criminals are tried, however 11 years after the war ended-the most serious war criminals, Karadzic and Mladic are still on the run. The crimes that they are accused of committing have faded from the world's consciousness. That is why is why it is so important to continue to shed a light unto Bosnia. Below is my opinion on why the ICTY is still important after all of these years-and why it CANNOT shut down until the most wanted war criminals are tried.

Perhaps I am not the right person to write this article. I do not have any direct experience with the break up of the former Yugoslavia. My experience with the 1992-1995 war is two fold. The first is purely academic. I am a political science/history efficianado, and the Bosnian genocide/war was one of the landmarks of global politics in the 1990s. The second is slightly more personal.

Although, I do not have any direct experience with the war-I know people who do. One such person was a girl, Alma. Alma attended my high school-and she was in a few of my classes. I would talk to her on occassion, but I can't say that we were any more than mere acquaintance. Despite this, it would be Alma's experience in the war that would change how I saw the conflict. Alma is a Bosniak (Bosnian-Muslim) and one day, Cetniks (ultra-nationalist Serb soldiers) entered Alma's village. They executed all of the adult males in the town-at least 200 men shot dead in a football stadium. Years after the atrocities, Alma wrote about her experience in our High School newspaper. I was shocked. I had read about the atrocities before, but I had never met someone who had experienced such horror up close and personal. While it might sound a bit of cliche, reading about Alma's experience, Alma who was just an average teenager like I was, brought the war home to me.

Unfortunately, there are many Almas all over the world. It is for all of these people, regardless of their ethnicity, that it is important that the Hague Tribunal succeed. It is even more important that Mladic and Karadzic are arrested and sent to the Hague Tribunal to face trial.
We owe it to Alma.

(Originally posted on HagueWatch by me)

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