Voices of the Geoffrey Nice Community

Video by Milica Pavlović

by Hussain Adetokunbo

The World Health Organization Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on 20 March 2020, revealed reports of more than 210,000 cases of COVID-19 and over 9,000 people deaths caused by COVID-19. Around the world, desperate measures have been adopted to tackle the outbreak of COVID-19, which has been labelled as a ‘once in a century event’. Some measures have included lockdowns and quarantines, most notably in Italy and recently in the UK. On 25 March 2020, the Coronavirus Bill received Royal Assent. The Government introduced the Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 (under the Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984, as amended by the Health and Social Care Act 2008) on 10 February 2020. The measures aim to prevent further, serious transmission of the virus by providing new powers – effective immediately – for medical and public health professionals “to screen, isolate and detain those at risk of spreading Covid-19”. If necessary, the Regulations also allow the police “to detain and direct individuals in quarantined areas at risk or suspected of having the virus”.

by Mustafa Džihić

IN THE ANTICIPATION OF THE SUMMER OF 2020 Summer is always my favorite time of the year and it is almost always connected with travels and holidays. As of this year I got accepted to at 7th Master class of The Geoffrey Nice Foundation on the topic of “POST-TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE OF GENOCIDE IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA: 25 YEARS AFTER SREBRENICA”. This is a unique opportunity for me as a lawyer and young person from Bosnia and Herzegovina to take part in this Class. I am very excited to listen and learn from the lecturers and give opinion and discuss with other fellow colleagues. This topic has its great importance in a global scale and future of the world and Western Balkans after 25 years and to the future. Regardless current lockdown and the situation with Corona virus COVID-19 I hope that we can still take part in this Master Class in person or virtually. I want to thank the Foundation for this opportunity and I am sure that this Master Class will be the most successful yet. See you in beautiful Dubrovnik!

by Lorena Sekiraqa

Dear all, I wish everyone is safe during the COVID-19 era. By introduction, my name is Lorena Sekiraqa and I come from Kosovo. I am a master student of International Politics at KU Leuven. Before the pandemic outburst, I was residing in Leuven, Belgium, where I have grown a profound interest in the discipline of Peace Research and Conflict Management. Given that transitional-justice has become an ubiquitous response to the post-conflict recovery, encompassing historical, political and social dimensions, I believe that the knowledge which I aspire to acquire during this master class, would further enable me to academically engage in research, in the discipline of Peace and Conflict Management, with a focus in Western Balkans. Needless to say, my eagerness to be part of this class grows deeper when adding the rhetoric of Geoffrey Nice to it. Since I came back to Kosovo, I have been able to share my excitement with my social circle about this experience, whereas I noticed that whilst his name is very familiar even among the youth in Kosovo, his rhetoric immediately connotes into feelings of appreciation and positiveness. Looking forward to meeting all of you in Dubrovnik.

by Adam Smith

My name is Adam. I am 25 years old, British and work currently in the UK Ministry of Justice as a Policy Advisor for Judicial review. I am exceptionally excited to get involved in the Dubrovnik Masterclass of 2020. When I undertook my ERASMUS study in Konstanz, Germany, I was first introduced to the world of transitional justice, and found it truly fascinating. Konstanz has many well regarded lecturers and researchers on this topic, so I was able to take modules looking at transitional justice in Sierra Leone, as well as looking at building democracy in divided societies, many of which had escaped a genocide. I have continued to be fascinated in transitional justice, international law, and genocide studies because of the exceptionally wide remit of these studies; not only are you discussing legal concepts and political systems, you are looking intimately at humanity at its worst, and how to make it better. Genocide and war crimes are truly devastating, and I believe that it is so fundamentally important to understanding them when they occur, in an attempt to ensure they never happen again. Yet I am not blind to the criticisms and failings associated with transitional justice; the Western-centric ideals, the overly bureaucratic and sometimes corrupt institutions. Taking a look at how transitional justice is done can only help improve the viability of transitional justice institutions in the future. My time volunteering as a legal assistant to a barrister working in the ICC has exposed me to a great many of these faults, so I wish to attend this workshop in an attempt to meet people with differing insights, and therethrough, gain further understanding. COVID-19, like anywhere else, has greatly affected the everyday lives of UK citizens. This is compounded by issues of (often) Government ineffectiveness, the role of political members attending an apolitical panel, and ceaseless issues of supply-chain mismanagement. I expect 2020 will be a trying time for all citizens of the world. Not only do we have to learn to cope in a COVID-world, but also watch as our Government does so too; whether they learn lessons from countries easing their lockdown will be the difference between being able to resume a semblance of normality, and self-isolating for the duration of the summer. I sincerely hope it is the former. Not only because normality will help a great many people struggling with loneliness and anxiety, but also to allow great events, such as this masterclass, to truly bring people together. I believe no matter what, however, that this masterclass will be excellent and insightful. Geoffrey Nice and his team have clearly done an excellent job at bringing people together, despite such challenges. I expect that, even if this event were to be hosted remotely, that it will still be hugely rewarding, insightful and inspirational.

by Ana Horvatić

Summer is definitely my time of year! Sun, sea, travels and a handful of new experiences! And this summer I got the opportunity to learn something as a law student and participant of the 7th Master class – “Post-transitional justice of genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina: 25 years after Srebrenica”. I applied because I want to participate in building a responsible society which is ready to face with the past and I am really looking forward to seeing the concept of the lectures and how the speakers, together with us participants, will respond to the challenges that remain for us as a legacy of post-transition and post-conflict societies. These are topics that slow down the process of reconciliation and the realization of post-transitional justice, so painful compromises are required. Given the situation, I believe the class will still take place, if not live, then certainly electronically. As in the most European countries, the coronavirus has left its mark in Croatia, especially in the form of restrictions on some rights and freedoms, but most importantly, the overall situation is improving. I hope that the condition will improve soon and that we will return to our usual summer activities. After a dark, an even nicer day is coming, see you in Dubrovnik and of course – stay healthy!

by Majlinda Shala

I’m very privileged to be part of Geoffrey Nice Foundation - Master Class 2020. My strong interest in human rights and their protection was one of the major reasons why I chose to study law. My MSc on International law and Human rights has taught me the fundamental purpose of human rights regimes is to reduce future political uncertainty concerning adherence to basic human rights. I would like to start my short story wishing and hoping that everyone around the world will find strength during this hard time to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. Here in Kosovo we might feel quite lucky comparing the statistics of the other states in the region. Kosovo has managed to maintain its flat curve, thanks to good institutional organization. What it’s very unusual also is that during the most difficult times and while the world is fighting a deadly virus, our Government fell. Politics know no limits, I guess. An important part to mention is the revolt of the people in all Kosovar politics parties. But despite this, the incumbent government has taken restrictive measures which have been very effective so far. Geoffrey Nice Foundation offers a very good program to human rights activists who are interested to dig more in the history and find so much elements together like law, history and politics. I feel very familiar with the name of Geoffrey Nice since while growing up, I remember hearing this name so much in the news. I think this is going to be an amazing experience and I’m so thankful for the opportunity, while I can’t wait to meet you all in person in Dubrovnik.

by Brigitta Balogh

My name is Brigitta Balogh, I am 28 years old and I was born in Hungary. I study law at City University of London and I am an outreach worker at St Mungo's. I wanted to participate in the Master Class this year because my long-term plan is to become an international human rights lawyer and this is a fantastic opportunity for me to learn more about political violence and the role of international criminal justice while understanding the political and historical events that lead to the genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina 25 years ago. The Hungarian far-right government used the lockdown to pass a bill and that enables them to rule by decree and in the UK we have the the second highest number of deaths. I hope that the world will be able to recover from the pandemic and we can go back to normal, but a little bit stronger and more united.

by Gresa Rasiti

I am Gresa Rasiti (24) and I come from a lovely multi-ethnic town in Serbia called Bujanovac. Before the pandemic took over, I was enjoying my semester in Sarajevo studying Democracy and Human Rights in South East Europe. Living there and studying about human rights issues has undoubtedly shaped my motivation to participate in this year’s Master Class. Among other things, I believe that this experience will connect the dots between my current studies and my interests to further broaden my knowledge regarding post-transitional justice of genocide in Bosnia. I consider it important to get a multilayered approach to such a crucial issue in the history of human rights in the region and beyond. Needless to say, Serbia holds the throne when it comes to covid-19 cases in the Balkans. However, things are looking up as we are no longer in a state of emergency and are slowly transitioning to normalcy. I remain positive that we will all meet in Dubrovnik soon, and for that I cannot wait! Until then, stay safe and healthy.

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