The most important human rights book of our time

 

     “The Witnesses” is an articulate work on human rights violation. Written by Eric Stover, this book is the first of its kind which reports the results of a study on victims and witnesses who have testified before an International War Crimes Tribunal that was established by UN Security Council Resolution 827 on May 25, 1993 to try those responsible for genocide in former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

        Experiences and attitudes of eighty-seven individuals including Bosnians, Muslims, Serbs and Croats have been presented in the most adept way.

        Least attention is paid to human rights at the times of war. All the war crimes including genocide, mass killings, rape, torture, imprisonment in inhumane conditions, forceful expulsion from the country and mass destruction are all part of human rights violation. Being a witness of these crimes and testifying them before an international criminal court requires great courage. Eric Stover has been successful in providing a structured glimpse of such witnesses and also in describing the war crime proceedings of ICTY that were held in Hague.

        In the preface of the book, Eric has presented a lucid description about the contents of his book and the way the story has been presented. There are all together seven chapters in this book. The first three chapters introduce the book to the readers and contain information such as war history, story of “The Tribunal” and details of the Witnesses. The next three chapters are based on extensive interviews of all the witnesses that were collected over a period of four years. While 62 interviewers were Bosnian Muslims who testified in the Lasva Valley, 20 interviewers were Croats testifying before the Mayor of Vukovar in Croatia, and five were Bosnian Serbs who testified in the trial of Celebici in Bosnia. Apart from this, there were interviews of 33 current or former ICTY members. A lot of literature search seems to have been done by the author with respect to ICTY proceedings.

       “The Witnesses” has vital information on human rights that is worth a reading.

The most important human rights book of our time

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