The North Star Project, Summer Report Number Twelve, The Hague, The Netherlands — United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
By Ethan Scrivner
The Hague, The Netherlands — United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia Report #2
I will be working at the media department of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) this summer. The work of the Tribunal is the prosecution of war criminals from the former Yugoslavia. The ICTY’s statute gives provides jurisdiction to hear cases involving war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. The Tribunal has been in existence for twenty years at this point and is in its final stages of operation, with all trials scheduled to be finished here by 2016.
Right now is a particularly interesting time to have come here. The ICTY has been getting quite a bit of coverage over the last several weeks as more acquittals of accused war criminals were handed down just prior to the leak of a private letter from one of the judges here which essentially accuses the ICTY’s president, Theodor Meron, of exerting pressure on his fellow judges to procure favorable judgments for the accused. The reasons given, though not yet verified, are that Meron is pushing an agenda which would be more favorable to the United States. The judgments in which Meron is said to have exerted undue influence were for high-ranking officials who were on trial for their command responsibility for crimes committed during the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia. The implications this kind of command responsibility could carry are seen as potentially damaging to US officials who have ordered or at least knowingly allowed torture or other criminal behavior to take place under their command. Several NGO’s as well as the country of Rwanda, where Meron sits as presiding judge over the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, are calling for Meron’s resignation and retrials in instances where he may have pressured fellow judges for acquittals. If these allegations are true, it largely delegitimizes much of the recent work of both Tribunals and of course calls into question whether justice can in fact be achieved in cases of individual criminal acts carried out by those in power.
For all of the North Star Project Summer Reports, see HERE
The North Star Project: Collaboration between The Middle Ground Journal Student Interns, The College of St. Scholastica, and North Star Academy 8th Grade Global Studies Classes, 2013-2014 School Year Summer Reports.
Under the leadership of our North Star host teachers and student interns, The North Star Project has flourished for two years. For a brief summary, please see a recent article in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:
This summer we will re-tool and re-design the collaborative program, drawing on the experience of our veteran student interns, ideas from our host teachers, and new projects provided by our incoming student interns. This summer The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. As of the time of this report we have confirmed student interns who will be reporting from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world. We will post their brief dispatches here throughout the summer, and report on their interactions with the North Star students and teachers throughout the school year.
Hong-Ming Liang, Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA, June, 2013
(c) 2013 The Middle Ground Journal, Number 6, Spring, 2013. See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.