TRIAL International in Sarajevo initiates partnership with Yale Law School


Yale Law School and TRIAL International will join efforts in the coming months to help Bosnian victims access the judicial system.


A Sarajevo-based NGO and an Ivy league university may not be the most obvious partners to defend human rights. Yet following a Yale alumni’s experience at TRIAL International, it became obvious a cooperation made a lot of sense.

“Joining the organization was a wonderful opportunity to both challenge myself intellectually and contribute to the vital work that TRIAL International is doing”, explained Kyle Delbyck, a law graduate who has been working with TRIAL International since 2016 and instigated the partnership. “Once I had completed a couple projects, I started thinking that Yale and TRIAL International could mutually benefit from a partnership.”


Bringing together academia and practical expertise

The Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic is a course at Yale Law School that gives students firsthand experience in human rights advocacy. Named for human rights activist Allard K. Lowenstein, the clinic undertakes projects each term on behalf of human rights organizations and individual victims of human rights abuse.

“TRIAL International has a unique approach to the challenges facing wartime victims,” said Kyle Delbyck. “The organization works on many levels: international litigation, advocacy… As well as tackling a wide spectrum of legal issues.”

On its side, TRIAL International has been active in BiH since 2008. It has established itself as an expert on helping victims accessing justice.

“We welcome this partnership with great happiness”, said Selma Korjenić, Head of TRIAL International’s BiH program. “It will be beneficial to learn from each other’s expertise and together we will continue working on improving victims’ situation in BiH.”


Challenging unfair statute of limitations

More specifically, the students will be examining in-depth the statute of limitations, or zastara, imposed on wartime claims. The partnership includes the opportunity for three Yale students to travel to BiH and to actually meet and interview victims who have suffered from zastara.

Under TRIAL’s supervision, the students will then write a report that will be submitted to United Nations human rights bodies in Geneva.

“It will be the first advocacy document submitted to international mechanisms that specifically focuses on the issue of statutes of limitations in BiH,” said Kyle Delbyck. “We are optimistic that the UN will respond accordingly.”

In the past, TRIAL International has also established partnerships with the Geneva Academy (Switzerland) for its Burundi and Trial Watch projects.


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