I’ve only been here a day and already I am so enamored with this city. The language is beautiful in a way romance languages just can’t lend themselves to, the people are so kind (even the landlord with whom I have a huge language barrier), and the city is incredible.
I copped out my first night and got a pizza (it was delicious), in the centar district of Sarajevo (easy enough translation) which is incredibly close to my apartment and then went with Rachel (my cohort for this trip – another Brandeisian working with the Court this summer) to meet our project supervisor, Mia, at Torte ito, an incredible dessert shop in the BBI shopping center. They each got a dessert, I didn’t (too tired!), but they each gave me a piece: wow. Hardest part of this trip so far has been deciding which is better: the chocolate cheesecake or the brownie cake. Yum!
Then I went to sleep. And not until around 9pm, actually! I’m very proud of myself – I only neglected to give in to jetlag for that long though because my landlord, who only speaks Bosnian, and I were making wildly futile attempts to connect my laptop to the internet. No success last night, but a flatmate, Mohammed, figured that out for me about 15 minutes ago. Huzzah! Success!
Bed in the apartment. Look ma, it's made! (Credit goes to Rachel for that)
That brings us to today! I succeeded in my first solo restaurant attempt! Paris was a good debriefing on cafes in Europe (don’t order at the counter, just sit!) so I got a great cup of espresso with milk at Illy. (Coffee is Kafa in Bosnian)
I know! I went to a place whose name I recognized! Cop out – I promise they will stop soon!
I went to the court for two purposes: first to get reading material from and to meet the American Prosecutor, Erik Larson, and his staff. I got there using the bus with directions I could only just remember from my jetlagged first night. I spent the whole time on the bus splitting my attention between sighting landmarks for my bus stop that had been described to me and adding credit to my international phone so that I could call Rachel and make sure I was on the right bus.
I WAS! No need to worry, parents 🙂 Okay, so, got off the bus at the right stop and went in to meet the Prosecutor. Had to leave my phone and camera with security – so there are no pictures of the inside/immediately outside the Court, sorry International Justice ingenues! I was 20 minutes early because the bus was faster than anticipated, so I waited outside until it was time to call Prosecutor Larson’s office.
But before I could, Max came out. Max works in the Office as a legal researcher/something. He graduated from BC and got into the office thanks to the Boston Mafia (as we’re calling it) which has a ridiculous number of connections there. Max took me in, gave me a little tour of the *cough* ugly *cough* orange building (which looks much better inside), I got research materials, attempted and failed to talk command responsibility with him, and then in-walked the Prosecutor who greeted me, dressed in my cowl-neck shirt and black suit, in cargo shorts and a blue button-down short-sleeved shirt.
Yes, that was his outfit in the courtroom later on. It was just hidden by his robe. You could still see the sneakers though – even if the judges can’t!
Rachel and I then met for lunch and went to this really cute place right by the court and I ordered, what I’m hoping to remember correctly, koshta. On the menu it said “mixed greens with goat cheese on top”, so I was expecting lettuce. Nuh-uh. It was still good though! The “mixed greens” were just cucumber and tomato slices. I got a free bowl of bread with the salad though, so between that the meal was surprisingly filling.
And it’s a good thing too – I would have hated a grumbling stomach to interrupt Court proceedings! Today, my first full day in Bosnia, I got to observe part of a trial against two persons accused of war crimes: Pelemis Momir and Peric Slavko. Today there was expert witness testimony that was damaging to both as it concerned command responsibility and whether or not a Commander is responsible for his troops once they have been dispatched to another site.
This case concerns only actions taken between 9 and 21 July 1995 by the First Batallion, when the accused may have unlawfully detained and summarily executed 1200 Bosniak men and boys.
After working on cases like that all day, these ridiculous people need to go out. So, we’re going to get a hamburger (YES FOOOD) and drinks at Fenix Pub. I’m meeting Rachel to start walking over there in about 30 minutes.
OH! One more thing about today – on my way back to the apartment from the Court, I got lost. As soon as the bus turned away from the river, I realized that I would have no sense of direction, so I got out and was pretty sure I knew which way to go. I walked past a beautiful park and continued walking for probably 10 minutes and finally saw something familiar – then, being in a familiar area, I decided to take an unfamiliar street.
Bad idea? Not in the slightest! The street led me straight into the Old Town of Sarajevo, where it looks like a miniature, stone version of Main Street at Disneyland. I’ve never seen anything like this before, so please excuse the terrible reference point. The streets are only for pedestrians in this area, the shops are all maybe 8ft tall, and they are crammed together much like the people, who are sitting at cafes that run along the streets. It’s beautiful there and I cannot wait to head back – did I mention it is only a 5 minute walk from the apartment?
What else is only a 5 minute walk?
The bridge where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was killed and WWI was ignited.
BOOM. Political nerd in me is elated 🙂