Public lecture: In conversation with Biljana Plavšić
“I would do the same again”: In Conversation with Biljana Plavšić.
A public lecture by Olivera Simić
After more than 20 years in operation, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has closed down at the end of 2017. Biljana Plavšić made history by becoming the only woman, out of 161 individuals, indicted by the ICTY. She was also the highest ranking official and the first Serb leader to plead guilty to charges raised against her before the ICTY. After entering into a plea bargain and serving two thirds of her 11-year sentence in Sweden, she returned to Belgrade in 2009 where she has been living ever since. In this paper, I draw on more than 50 hours of face to face and phone interviews I undertook with Plavšić in the course of 2017/2018. In the first part of the paper I briefly introduce Plavšić and situate the study within the field of international criminal justice and transitional justice. I then proceed to discuss four themes that Plavšić most frequently returned to during our conversations. These themes offer an original perspective into Plavšić’s experience of being tried and sentenced by the international tribunal and her subsequent release and return home. This paper aims to fill a gap in the literature by analysing the reflections on the ICTY from its only woman defendant.
Dr Olivera Simić is a Senior Lecturer with the Griffith Law School, Griffith University, Australia, Visiting Professor with UN University for Peace, Costa Rica and Visiting Fellow with the Transitional Justice Institute, Ulster University, Belfast. Olivera has published numerous articles, book chapters and books and her latest edited collection, ICTY Celebrities: War Criminals after Trial and Their Homecoming (with Barbora Hola) is forthcoming with International Criminal Justice Review. Her latest monograph, Silenced Victims of Wartime Sexual Violence will be published by Routledge in March 2018.