Interning in the Hague
Hanah Brasch (ICJA ‘10), a student at Lander College for Women (Touro College), is currently an intern in The Hague, working for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The position in the communications department offers Hanah the chance to explore a potential career in international law, while playing an active role in pursuit of justice. After growing up hearing about the atrocities of the Holocaust, Hanah learning about the ethnic war crimes that took place in the Balkans during the 1990s resonated in a horrific way. “I am Jewish and so much of my education focused on the Holocaust,” says Hanah. “That this could be happening in relatively modern times, was not just surprising, but depressing.”
Although Hanah hadn’t been interested in law at the time she was in high school, Brasch attributes her interest in writing, her leadership skills and her love of Judaism to her experience at the Academy. “Every teacher I had was amazing and helped me in a different way. All my English teachers made me interested in writing.”
In The Hague, Hanah is preparing to write her honors thesis for her political science major on the topic of ICTY. Currently, she is primarily focused on gaining experience and knowledge from this unique opportunity. She regularly attends court hearings and, with access to resourceful archives, a large part of her day is dedicated to researching indictments related to the Balkan war crimes.
Hanah is also majoring in English Literature and Journalism and has found a way to incorporate her interest in international law with her knack for writing. On a daily basis, Brasch prepares press briefings that are given to a spokesperson to be read to the press each week. Internally, she prepares media reports to help keep the tribunal leader of justice informed of ICTY-related reporting in the media. Beyond these responsibilities, she participates in a variety of classes and conferences that fill her schedule. One such conference she found particularly interesting was a roundtable discussion with journalists from the region, including representatives from the British Broadcasting Corporation, The Institute for War and Peace Reporting, The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network as well as the ICTY communications outreach department. Hanah says, “Journalists from the region and Hague-based journalists noted the increasing difficulty of reporting on war crimes, particularly those dealing with the issue in the former Yugoslavia . . . and that the public in Serbia/Croatia, etc. were more interested in the perpetrators of the crimes than the victims.”
This anecdote is merely a glimpse of Hanah’s unique experiences interning at The Hague. While Brasch is certainly at the very beginning of a developing career, we are confident we will see great progress as she continues in her efforts to shape the international community.