When My Work = My Interests

My internship has taken some huge leaps in the past few weeks. That is really exciting because I still have another seven weeks here!! The UN requires a three month minimum commitment, which is great because it provides for so many opportunities before having to leave. After finishing roughly 200 pages of cite checking in my first four weeks ( a good transition from Joint Journal Competition to starting journal), I was given the position of team "Folder Queen" in charge of the organization and saving of all documents related to the Popović et al. appeal. Despite the humorous name, it is an incredibly important job due to the vast and lengthy aspects of the case. It also gives me the opportunity to read and absorb the variety of the ICTY. Additionally, I have three other projects to work on that I can't discuss specifically (confidentiality issues) but which I am so excited to work on. One involves incredible novelty in International Criminal Law. All are important to this case and potential posterity, as well as allowing me to develop and hone legal skills while taking advantage of the mentorship of experienced attorneys in ICL.


Outside the ICTY, international law has developed into an even bigger part of my life. After reading several books for fun (something I did not appreciate enough until I entered law school), including the Jungle, which I finally finished, I am working my way through a leading European textbook on ICL. Additionally, I had the opportunity to go to a photography exhibit on Rwanda genocide victims and perpetrators. While in prison, some perpetrators had the opportunity to be a part of an educational and therapeutic program to understand their actions, move forward to make a better impact on the world, come to forgive themselves, and seek the forgiveness of their victims. It was one of the most moving exhibits I have ever seen. Reading the stories of people who had their families killed before them, their homes burned, their lives ripped apart, and seeing them embrace the people who did that to them was humbling. Some victims and perpetrators have formed relationships just like family, with one man even calling the woman whose husband and sons he killed "mother." I don't know if I would have the strength to forgive someone like the incredible subjects of these photographs. Looking at the photos really brought to life the work that I am doing at the ICTY. Though I do not work for the ICTR (International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the Appeals Chamber of which is housed in the ICTY building), the exhibit highlighted how people's lives are destroyed by war - but more importantly, that it is the responsibility of all people to bring the perpetrators to justice, and justice to the victims. And if you're lucky, the victims can forgive and rebuild their lives.