Mirko Klaren

Interview conducted 25 May 2015 in The Hague, Netherlands, by Linda Carter and Leigh Swigart.

portrait of mirko klarinBackground

  • Journalist, SENSE News Agency (headquartered at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia), 1994-2017.

Interview Content

In his interview, Mirko Klarin reminisces about his early reactions to events in the Balkans; meeting with legal experts about the feasibility of establishing a Nuremberg-like tribunal in response; the waning interest of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in hearing victim testimony; the complications of reporting on the trials of multilingual and multiethnic accused persons; the shock of Erdemović entering a plea of guilty; and the lack of interest by certain judges about perceptions of the Tribunal in the Balkan region.

He discusses the importance of broadcasting the first guilty pleas of the ICTY (Erdemović and Jelisić); the partial and nationalist interest in covering certain trials by Balkan journalists; the importance for the ICTY and future tribunals to emphasize the relationship between such institutions and the victims whom they claim to serve; Klarin’s ambition to preserve as much of the unpublicized stories of the conflict and the tribunal by continuing SENSE coverage as the ICTY finishes its final cases; and his involvement in the establishment of the Documentation Centre Srebenica in 2014.

read full transcript of interview

Biographical Information

Mirko Klarin was born in Trogir, Croatia. He graduated from the School of Law at Belgrade University. He has been a professional journalist since 1966 (reporter, foreign correspondent, editorialist, foreign policy editor and editor-in-chief) for leading daily and weekly newspapers in the former Yugoslavia. Before the latest Balkan wars, he covered foreign affairs, mainly in the Middle East conflict, and political developments in Europe and political violence (terrorism).

He is the author of six books on the Middle East conflict, terrorism, totalitarianism and transitions of the European Left. From 1991 to 1998, he served as the European correspondent for the Belgrade independent daily Nasa Borba (ex Borba), based in Brussels. He covered all international conferences on the former Yugoslavia (The Hague, Brussels, London, Geneva), and other European forums dealing with the crisis and war. He also covered the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia from its establishment in 1993.

Since 1998, Mr. Klarin has been the founder and editor-in-chief of SENSE-Tribunal, a specialized media service that regularly covers the work of the ICTY and other international courts based in The Hague. Since March 2000, SENSE has produced more than 720 regular weekly TV programs, providing overviews of the trials and developments at the tribunal and the International Court of Justice. These are broadcast by all major networks and local TV channels in the Balkans region.

In addition to daily reports and weekly TV programs, SENSE has produced seven documentary films and four internet-based interactive narratives about war crimes trials and other related subjects: "Storm in The Hague," "Srebenica: Genocide in Eight Acts," "Targeting History and Memory" and "ICTY: Kosovo Case, 1998-1999." SENSE has also established two documentation centers, in Potocari and Prishtina (dealing respectively with the ICTY Srebenica and Kosovo investigations and trials). It intends to continue its important work from its Transitional Justice Center, opened in 2017 in Pula, Istria.