JiA Diaries

The Hague Trip – Samrah Rashid

Our trip to The Hague was the next chapter in our quest to find justice for the victims and survivors of the Bosnian genocide. We travelled to The Hague with the knowledge, experiences and feelings of the people that we had met and spoken to in Bosnia . The Hague, however, provided me with a different view of the events that had taken place in Bosnia . I saw the events through the eyes of the lawyers who were working on the case, and it made me re-evaluate the concept of justice that I had . I saw how the teams of lawyers had to comb through each account and eye-witness records and then create a case surrounding them and it wasn’t as easy as saying that person is guilty.

We spoke to Richard Harvey, who is the defence counsel for Dr. Radovan Karadzic. His job is to ensure that Dr. Karadzic is getting a fair trial and that his human rights are being upheld. This made me think about the positive nature of the justice system and even though someone is accused of monstrous crimes, they still deserve a fair trial. It was really thought-provoking hearing about the case from the view of someone who could possibly defend Karadzic should he need it. .

My understanding of justice was expanded. Richard Harvey said how a person cannot know what justice is unless they have faced an injustice and that made it clearer to understand the view of the Bosnian people. He also encouraged us to join the fight and be an advocate for other people’s rights as well as ourselves.

While we were at The Hague we were able to go to the ICTY and sit in on the trial of Dr. Radovan Karadzic. It was such a crazy experience because, all the time we were in Bosnia we spoke about Karadzic but he just felt like a kind of figure that we were just referencing but actually seeing him sitting behind the bullet proof glass in court just made everything so real and it actually made me more determined to get justice for the people we met because there is still this pain that they are going through each day – the pain of losing loved ones because of the actions that  Karadzic is accused to have initiated.

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