We recently visited the war crimes court in Sarajevo. A judge spoke to us about her experience trying cases and a woman who works for the support services for witnesses also spoke with us. Both women provided us with valuable information about the work they do and about the court in general.
The judge spoke about how she balances her own experiences with the war with her responsibilities as a judge. She spoke very openly regarding the different ethnicities of her colleagues. She mentioned that they get along peacefully and the government would function more efficiently if politicians got along like she and her colleagues do. I appreciated her candidness and insight. The judge also said she enjoys her job because she can help bring justice for those who have been harmed by war. Despite having an extremely challenging job, the judge still finds fulfillment in her work, which I found inspiring.
The woman who works for the support services was also very inspiring. The work she and her staff do to support witnesses seems invaluable. She spoke of outside agencies she refers to, how they help witnesses in the courtroom and how they work to not re-traumatize witnesses. It was reassuring to hear that such support exists for witnesses. Unfortunately, the program is understaffed and employees find it difficult to meet all of their client’s needs. This mirrors many agency struggles in the U.S. and most likely other countries. It’s unfortunate that this type of service isn’t staffed more efficiently but it’s great that the service does exist.
Visiting the war crimes court was a great experience, I felt very fortunate to have the opportunity to go to the court and hear firsthand from those who work everyday to bring justice for a country that has been deeply impacted by the inhumane actions of others.