The Hague Trip – Farihah Begum

During the trip to The Hague we were split into two groups again. On the day we arrived, my group spent some time taking shots (General Views) outside the ICTY while the other group was conducting an interview inside.

Before watching the trial I had already said that Karadzic’s accused actions are without a doubt inexcusable and such acts need to be punished for the sake of humanity. I couldn’t necessarily predict what I would feel, however, I could honestly say I would be furious if justice isn’t achieved and would want to do something about it. And I was. I watched the trial knowing the struggle of the survivors and their anger, passion and despair. I felt I was now a part of their fight for justice.

On our second day in Holland, as I walked into the public gallery, the first face I saw was Karadzic’s. This is the man who has been accused of killing and tormenting thousands of people many of whom still suffer today. Seeing him just metres away from us smirking, laughing and joking only fuelled our emotions. How could he smile knowing that such serious allegations are being made against him? His whole demeanour was ruthless; I remember him dismissing one of the guards in a totally disrespectful manner.

The next day, as well as watching the trial again, we had to the opportunity to interview Chief Prosecutor Brammatz. It was very insightful to be able to speak to someone who is actually part of the justice system itself. It gave us the chance to ask some of the many questions that had been buzzing around in our heads about the actual process of serving justice, such as how indictments are chosen, how charges are decided, and how difficult it is ploughing through masses of evidence.

Our second sitting in the court room simply fuelled my anger further. In no way is any kind of violence or abuse of power acceptable regardless of the situation.

Having actually seen the justice system operating with my own eyes prior to this trip ‘Justice’ meant to me the quality of being just/fair and the act of discipline. However, during this insightful journey I questioned my initial thoughts and having heard the stories of the survivors, I too, like a few of them began to question whether or not justice exists or will ever exist. Though having said that, other survivors, in particular Hasan, gave hope that justice can be achieved it’s just a matter of when. Even if war criminals are convicted it won’t change the fact that there will still be countless number of people still suffering.  Also, the UN’s main purpose is to acquire harmony and the way forward is to ensure that wherever in the world, justice is something everyone can and should aspire to attain.

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