Alumni Lecture – Dr Rosalynd Roberts discusses Serious violations of International Humanitarian Law

Ensuring Accountability for Genocide, Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes

The University’s 2018 Alumna of the Year, Dr Rosalynd Roberts, returned to Reading in March to present an informative, inspiring and at points challenging insight into the adjudication of war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia, and the role she has played in this regard.

Having graduated with a PhD from the School of Law in 2011, Dr Roberts was appointed as a Legal Officer in Chambers at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), spending much of her time between 2011 – 2017 assisting judges in the trial of Ratko Mladic – named by the media as the “Butcher of Bosnia”.

Having flown in from Sarajevo specifically for the event, Dr Roberts delivered her talk to a room of students, staff and members of the local community. And despite the raw subject matter and graphic depictions of some of the horrifying atrocities committed during the conflict – it was clear just what an inspiring journey she has had in her career since leaving Reading.

Dr Roberts set-out to an engaged room the legal mandate of the ICTY, explaining how this differs from that of other international courts, and illustrating, via the ‘Pyramid of Hate’, how bias, prejudice and discrimination, if left unchecked, have the potential to escalate to the serious crimes that fell within the ICTY’s jurisdiction

The impact the ICTY’s jurisprudence will continue to have on international criminal law is clear. Its judgments in relation to gender crimes, crimes involving sexual violence towards men and its precedent for no longer affording impunity to those in positions of power places it as a landmark tribunal in legal history.

The audience will have been left in little doubt that the impact of the outcomes and precedents that the Tribunal has set gives hope for the future that no-one, whatever standing they may have in their society, is immune from the reach of international law if they are involved in such awful acts and atrocities.