The Rule Of Law Is Worth Fighting For And Preserving: An International Judge In Bosnia
Judge Patricia Whalen
Judge Patricia Whalen served as an international judge in the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, presiding over war crimes trials. It was important for her to protect human rights while ensuring a fair trial. She noted that the war in Bosnia – Herzegovina was directed against the civilian population, often by paramilitary organizations and non-state actors. Drawing from her experience in war crimes trials, she offers several observations that are important to today’s military leaders. First, leaders are responsible for individual acts, and one person can make a difference in preventing or stopping war crimes. Second, supporting the rule of law helps facilitate healing and reconciliation. Finally, war crimes can happen when one side demonizes the other, exploits ethnic divisions, and fails to acknowledge human suffering.