Students Spend a week in the Balkan for their Annual Study Trip

26 July 2022

Students of our LLM in International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and Human Rights (LLM) and MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law (MTJ) spent a week in the Balkans – Belgrade, Sarajevo and Srebrenica – where they met experts and institutions who work in the fields of IHL, human rights and transitional justice. The Study trip was organized by Cameron Kays, member of the student council and student from the MTJ, with the support of  Amila Lelo (student of the MTJ) and Tijana Kanjac (student of the LLM). 

Dealing with IHL and Transitional Justice Issues in Post-Conflict Societies: The Case Study of Serbia

At the University of Belgrade, students exchanged with Milos Hrnjaz – Associate Professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences and President of the Executive Board of Belgrade International Law Circle – and Janja Simentić Popović – Assistant Professor at Faculty of Political Science – on how a post-conflict society like Serbiadeals with IHL and transitional justice.

They notably discussed the role of an IHL professor in a post-conflict society, how to classify armed conflicts in the former Yugoslavia where classification of conflicts is part of the founding national myths of new states, as well as about war crimes in a society still overwhelmed with emotions.

Participation in the Srebrenica Youth School

In Srebrenica, Geneva Academy students participated in the first day of the 2022 Srebrenica Youth School, organized by the Post-Conflict Research Center – directed by our MTJ alumna Tatjana Milovanović – and the Srebrenica Memorial Center .

This week-long educational event for youth activists, artists, and students from the Western Balkans and from all around the world aims – via a series of masterclasses, keynote speeches, and workshops – to contribute to learning and critical thinking around the subjects of dealing with the past, transitional justice, and prevention of genocides and mass atrocities.

During this day, students notably visited the Srebrenica Memorial Center and Museum and discussed with the Museum Director and our MTJ alumna Tatjana Milovanović and her colleagues at the Post Conflict Research Center about genocide, genocide denial, recognition, memorialization, psychosocial consequences, trauma, and more.

At the ICTY Information Centre

During the trip, students also visited the first International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) Information Centre, located in the City Hall of Sarajevo, which provides digital access to electronic copies of all ICTY’s public records and archive material. Expert Advisor at the ICTY Information Centre, Ismena Čaušević explained them the mandate of the center, showed the ICTY courtroom No. 2 and exchanged with students around ICTY case law and the role of this ad-hoc tribunal.

"Our 2022 study trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina was truly an amazing educational experience. We were able to witness how transitional justice mechanisms, we learned about in several classes, applied in practice. It brought what we read about to life. We were privileged to learn from and discuss with a wide variety of experts, individuals, and organizations that provided an interdisciplinary approach to the justice, peace, truth, restitution, civil trust, reconciliation, and non-recurrence.” Underlines Cameron Kays, member of the student council of the MTJ programme.

 'It was a great opportunity to speak with different experts from a wide variety of different fields seeing how we could apply our knowledge in practice.
We were able to dive deeper, fully immersing ourselves in many of the fields we touched on throughout the year. For example, we were able to speak about refugee law with the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, see the ICTY come to life through the Sarajevo Information Centre, speak about law enforcement with the Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Security Directorate for coordination of Police Bodies, and learn more about genocide and the legal implications from Hasan Hasanović, the Post Conflict Research Center (PCRC), and the Srebrenica Genocide Memorial. It was a very valuable experience and I am grateful I was able to attend.' Comments Francesca Gortan, student from the LLM programme. 

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