Jean-Pele Fomete
Program Director
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Interview Date:
October 24, 2008
Arusha, Tanzania
Batya Friedman
John McKay
Robert Utter
Max Andrews
92:38 - 96:51


Robert Utter: One last question if I may. How has this whole process affected you personally?
Significantly. In 1995 at the ICTY, I was working with Judge McDonald, a U.S. judge, Judge Fouad Riad, Judge Jorda, in reviewing the evidence brought by the Prosecutor concerning the Srebrenica massacres. Going through the evidence was simply horrible.
I think for, for months I was not able to, to sleep because you were talking about people using, killing 15 months babies. You know, I could not sustain it.
But at the same time, the, the parallel between what I was reading in the evidence and what was happening in my country at the time as I told you. There were no massacres, but reading in the press you were seeing the message of hatred, you know, being spread over, saying this group is doing this and we’ll expel you and . . .
So I, I tried to – so it, it affected me personally. I tried to sustain that and continue working in the, in the chambers but it was difficult. So I ended up, while keeping my interest in being involved in the process, I ended up deciding to shift into other department of the organization where I can help but without being involved on a daily basis on reviewing the evidence itself.
I might have run away from my, from my responsibilities but I think I’ve continued doing the job, you know, in a different room of the house or in a different compartment of the, of the boat but just to protect also my ability to operate and somehow remain quote unquote “normal.”
But I can say going through that one I still have this in my mind and that’s why when you asked me to project myself into the future, just looking at those images, I said we should not be going that way again – be it here or elsewhere.
That’s personally. But again, now when I’m planning my future I see myself in the area of building capacity for judiciaries on the continent. So it will be like a continuation of what I’ve learned. You know, the people I’ve been privy to meet with and the organizations I had the opportunity of, of meeting with.
The leitmotif now is: what can we do for the future, you know, of, of the, of justice on the, on the continent? So it affected me. Personally I tried to adjust but I, I have the stamina, you know, to continue the, the work even after the, the ICTY, the ICTR.
RU: God bless you and thank you.