Skip to content

Students experience international law, witness history on global co-op

CSSH students Colleen Luibrand and Rodas Beyene posing for a portrait

Colleen Luibrand, SSH'19, and Rodas Beyene, SSH/S'19, worked on co-op together last year at the U.N. International Criminals Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Colleen Luibrand and Rodas Beyene couldn’t believe what they had just witnessed.

It was late November, and a sentencing hearing was underway in the final case at the U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, where the two Northeastern students were working on co-op. The tribunal’s charge was to carry out justice for atrocities committed during the Balkan wars of the early 1990s.

Luibrand and Beyene had been busy all morning, working with prosecutors and coordinating with other offices in preparation for the day’s proceedings. Beyene watched the hearing from the public gallery, through a glass wall separating them from the courtroom. Luibrand watched on the television in the press office.

Then came the moment when a U.N. judge confirmed his 20-year sentence for former Bosnian Croat military commander Slobodan Praljak. Seconds later, Praljak shouted something in Croatian that Luibrand and Beyene didn’t understand at the time—“I am not a war criminal!”—and drank a liquid from a small bottle later revealed to be poison. The hearing abruptly halted, and Praljak was rushed to a hospital where he later died.

Read the full story at news@Northeastern. 

More Stories

‘I fell in love with tech.’ Two Northeastern scholars win prestigious Knight-Hennessey fellowships


‘You are the benchmark,’ Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun tells inaugural Senior Leadership Award recipients


One ‘incredible experience’ in India wasn’t enough for Northeastern graduate and Fulbright Scholar