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31 May 2010

Going forward by Coming to Terms with Past

The Balkans Investigative Reporting Network, BIRN, in collaboration with USAID’s Judicial Development Programme, continued training of journalists reporting from cantonal and district courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina on May 27 and 28.

Thirty journalists had a chance to learn the importance of factual reporting and familiarize themselves with threats arising from irresponsible reporting. Journalists were given an opportunity to improve their knowledge on writing of analysis and investigative reports.

Hague Tribunal Spokesperson Nerma Jelacic apprised the participants of the issues facing international and local justice and spoke about the ways for differentiating between our expectations from war-crimes trials and the reality.

By talking to Emir Suljagic, one of the first Bosnian journalists who reported from the Hague Tribunal, the journalists were able to share their views on whether it is possible to resist lobbying and keep war-crimes trials reporting objective.

Refik Hodzic, Hague Tribunal’s representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, addressed the journalists, saying the research of war crimes influenced the future generations and the relations with the countries in the region and beyond.

„For the sake of our children, we should face the brutality that resulted in crimes. The way in which we can come to terms with it is by having common people talk to each other, but it can also be done at the political structures level. We have seen how much citizens appreciate state presidents paying respect to victims,” Hodzic said.

The journalists attended the celebration of the fifth anniversary of BIRN in Bosnia and Herzegovina, at which a publication entitled “Time for Truth” was presented. The publication speaks about the work of the War Crimes Chamber with the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the period from 2005 to 2010.

The training of journalists continues on June 27 and 28, when participants will have a chance to do some practical work and write articles on war-crimes trials conducted before the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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