The City of Sarajevo, with the support of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (Mechanism), today opened the Sarajevo Information Centre on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (Centre), the first such information centre to be opened in the region of the former Yugoslavia. The Centre will provide direct and guided access to the public judicial records of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) as well as promote the ICTY’s legacy. The Centre’s activities are envisioned to include the organization of a variety of public events, as well as assistance to external projects utilizing and reflecting on the legacy of the ICTY. 

The opening of the Centre, on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the ICTY, represents an important milestone in bringing the Tribunal’s legacy closer to the affected communities. The Centre, located in the Sarajevo City Hall, is equipped with computers that provide visitors with access to the ICTY’s public archive and other online resources. An additional feature of the Centre is a replica of an ICTY courtroom, which has been created using the original furniture and other elements from an ICTY disassembled courtroom.       

The Mayor of Sarajevo, Mr Abdulah Skaka, officially opened the Centre, stating: “This Information Centre has a symbolic as well as a concrete importance. For the victims, this Centre has a symbolic importance, because these records will continue to serve as a testament to their suffering and to holding those responsible to account. On a concrete level, the Centre will provide the citizens of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as the region with a link with their recent past.

Speaking on behalf of the President of the Mechanism, Judge Theodor Meron, Ms Gabrielle McIntyre, Chef de Cabinet and Principal Legal Advisor, emphasized the importance of the establishment of the first such information centre in the former Yugoslavia. She also noted: “Not only is this Information Centre designed to give visitors direct access to documents and other materials drawn from the Tribunal’s proceedings and the opportunity to experience first-hand one of the ICTY’s courtrooms, but it does all of that here, in the heart of some of the communities most affected by its work, inviting each visitor to ask questions, to weigh arguments and information, and to reach his or her own conclusions.” Ms McIntyre further acknowledged the presence at the opening ceremony of Judge Fausto Pocar, former President of the ICTY, and, on behalf of President Meron, expressed appreciation for Judge Pocar’s important contributions leading to the establishment of the Centre.

The Mechanism will provide support to the Centre as it develops its programme and activities. The Mechanism will also continue to cooperate with the countries of the former Yugoslavia and interested entities to facilitate the establishment of information centres in other parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina and elsewhere throughout the former Yugoslavia.