Several years ago I had the opportunity to attend the International Court Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. I was on Semester at Sea, and one of the law professors had a connection to the United Nations that allowed us to witness the trial of former Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic. The Milosevic Trial began each morning at 9:00 and ended at 1:45. We went through security and attended the session after their lunch recess. A glass wall separated the gallery from the actual court; and we wore headphones connected to a Multilanguage radio for translation of the dayʼs proceedings.
Milosevic chose to represent himself and was in the middle of cross-examination of a Mr. Markovic, his former Chief of Information. Everyone, with the exception of the accused, witness, clerk and security were fully robed. The three judges, from Rwanda, Britain, and Japan, wore a red sash to differentiate them from the rest of the court. Each sat fully distinguished with gray hair and glasses. The panel of prosecutors was positioned to our right and Mr. Milosevic on our left. A council of interpreters sat above the court in closed boxes while everyone in the court and gallery wore headphones. And there I was, a small-town West Texas boy, witnessing the first head of state to ever stand trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Continue reading