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The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has launched a new website, “The Mladic Files,” documenting Ratko Mladic’s trial in The Hague. The project will also explore the larger framework, such as if future mass atrocities can be prevented by bringing past and present perpetrators to justice. Mladic was indicted for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes committed while commander of the Bosnian Serb Army during the 1992-95 Balkans conflict; the project leader is the Museum’s Goldfarb Fellow, prize-winning foreign correspondent and author Michael Dobbs, who will not only observe the legal proceedings in The Hague, but also interview Mladic’s victims and cohorts, as part of his investigation into the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. All of Dobbs’ findings will be posted to the project’s blog.

The Museum has long spotlighted the atrocities that occurred in the Balkans, with a particular focus on the Sreberenica massacre, one of only a few cases the international community has deemed genocide. As such, the Museum has also been monitoring the arrests and trials of those accused of crimes against humanity in the region. The Committee on Conscience, a standing committee of the Museum’s Council, is the guiding force behind the Museum’s work on genocide and related crimes against humanity. The Committee on Conscience is mandated with alerting the national conscience, influencing policy makers, and stimulating worldwide action to confront and work to halt acts of genocide or related crimes against humanity.

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Tensions are running high between Armenia and Azerbaijan, who have yet to resolve the conflict dating back to the Nagorno-Karabakh war of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Despite a 1994 ceasefire and rounds of internationally mediated negotiations, the two countries have not arrived at a permanent settlement and are currently engaged in a military buildup. Ceasefire violations by both sides and frustration resulting from lack of a clear resolution have led many Azeri refugees displaced by the conflict to consider war as a viable policy option and to engage in what appears to be military training.

Amnesty International issued a report on Friday urging Rwandan authorities to finish reviewing their “genocide ideology” law to ensure it does not contravene Rwanda’s obligations under international human rights law. Amnesty says the law, enacted in October 2008 to prevent a repeat of the 1994 genocide, is too broad and abstract, which leads it to be used to stifle political dissent and limit freedoms of speech and expression, including legitimate criticisms of current Rwandan policies by opposition politicians, journalists, and human rights activists. Rwandan officials responded to the allegations, saying Amnesty had “chosen to misrepresent reality in an inaccurate and highly partisan report.”

Ratko Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb military commander, appeared on Friday before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for the first time since his May 26 arrest. Responding to the 11 counts against him, including genocide, extermination and murder, and terrorism, he called the charges “obnoxious” and “monstrous” and declined to enter a plea. Mladic, who spent much of the hearing discussing his ill health, will appear before court again on July 4.

Image: Kiva Stories from the Field

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