MIP and OTP hold workshops in Montenegro

Podgorica and Petrovac, Montenegro
A photo collage of lectures and panel discussions during the workshop

From 28 to 29 May 2024, the Mechanism Information Programme for Affected Communities (MIP) together with a representative from the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP), held two lectures and workshops for 30 young journalists, civil society activists, members of political parties, defence lawyers, prosecutors, and judges from Montenegro. The two-day event took place in Podgorica and Petrovac, Montenegro, and was organised by the Youth Initiative for Human Rights Montenegro, with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

On 28 May, MIP researcher Nemanja Stjepanović delivered two lectures to the participants. He discussed the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (Mechanism) over the past three decades. He also shared concrete examples, such as the prosecution of crimes committed in Dubrovnik and Srebrenica.

The following day, Mr. Stjepanović conducted training on the use of ICTY and Mechanism archival material for a group of journalists, civil society activists, and members of political parties. During the training, he presented different tools for researching cases prosecuted before the ICTY and the Mechanism. This included navigating the ICTY and Mechanism websites, where users can access case information sheets that provide easy overviews of the cases, as well as a large selection of documents, including judgments and indictments. Mr. Stjepanović demonstrated how to find information in the judgments and dedicated a special segment of the training to the use of the Mechanism’s Unified Court Records.

The OTP representatives, Legal Officer Mr. Aleksandar Kontić and Document Manager Ms. Lejla Sudić-Hendo held a workshop titled “Effective Processing of War Crimes: Support to Prosecutors, Judges, and Defence Counsels.” Following the workshop, Mr. Kontić delivered two lectures to the participants. The first lecture focused on the use of evidence material in the cases "Siege of Sarajevo" and "Srebrenica." The second lecture emphasised the importance of regional cooperation in the prosecution of war crimes in the Western Balkans and the role of the OTP in this process.

Ms. Sudić-Hendo delivered a presentation on the OTP’s support to national judiciaries and state bodies in investigating and prosecuting war crimes through requests for assistance and various forms of cooperation. She outlined how national judiciaries in the Western Balkans could submit specific requests for assistance and reach out to the OTP to access its extensive evidence collection, legal expertise, and detailed knowledge of crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s. Additionally, Ms. Sudić-Hendo highlighted methods for utilising publicly available resources on the Mechanism website.

The lectures and the training for the participants from Montenegro forms part of the MIP’s efforts to support projects and events implemented by civil society organisations active in the field of transitional justice in the region of the former Yugoslavia.

The aim of the MIP is to improve the knowledge and understanding of citizens and communities in the countries of the former Yugoslavia about the crimes committed during the conflicts of the 1990s, based on the jurisprudence of the ICTY and the Mechanism. The MIP is funded by the European Union.