The war crimes trials of Serbs and Croats currently underway at the tribunal of international justice in the Hague is being followed with special interest by a 74-year-old woman in Great Britain, who understands the horrors of such crimes on a personal level. Kitty Hart-Moxon, a survivor of Auschwitz concentration camp and an expert on mass murder, is working to establish an international institute on genocide as a way of more effectively stopping it from happening again.
Kitty Hart-Moxon has already helped to establish the Beth Sholom Center for Holocaust Studies in Laxtan, near the English City of Nottingham. She now wants to go one step further and create an international institute on genocide with funding from governments and organizations worldwide.
She is one of the very few survivors of the Nazis' Auschwitz concentration camp, a best-selling international author and an acknowledged world authority on Holocaust studies. In spite of the horrors she has seen and experienced, Kitty Hart-Moxon remains an energetic champion of human rights.
She says that in spite of promises that "it will never happen again," democratic governments have acted too slowly or not at all when faced with recent cases of genocide. She cites the cases of mass murder in Rwanda and the Balkans, where brutality grew worse while democratic governments pondered what to do.
"I'm not optimistic," says Ms. Hart-Moxon. "I think it will go on and on unless people will learn. Until you have a proper educational projects and one of the things that is going to happen is that we are going to have an institute for genocide. So people will actually begin to understand that from the very smallest beginnings. So they understand nothing big happens immediately. It's all very, very small and very, very slow, and it creeps up upon people. And there has to be a warning sign that people must understand."
Ms. Hart-Moxon says an international institute on genocide could alert the world to such situations before it is too late to do anything and she is working with other groups in Great Britain and elsewhere to establish such an entity. Meanwhile, she applauds the current trial in the Hague of a Serbian lieutenant colonel who stands accused of murdering thousands of Muslim men in the Srebrenica Enclave in 1995.
"Justice has got to be seen to be done, and also it serves a dual purpose," says Ms. Hart-Moxon. "It also brings out the truth. A lot of people don't really understand what really happened, so a trial like this has an educational dimension as well."
The international panel of judges in the Hague is currently using a set of ground rules, which were established at the nazi war crimes trials in Nuremberg in 1946, to deal with today's Balkan war criminals. They are determined to send a global message that no one can hide from the consequences of genocide.