While many students might contemplate a break after completing their honours thesis, ANU College of Law student Matilda Gillis will instead immerse herself in the trial of the infamous General Ratko Mladic and alleged crimes committed during the Bosnian conflict in the early 1990s.
Matilda will take up a prestigious six-month internship in The Hague in August, working as an intern in Judge’s chambers at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
The Mladic case has been running in the Tribunal since 2012, with a final judgement expected to be handed down in November 2017. Amongst other matters, it is investigating Mladic’s role in the Srebrenica massacre and the Siege of Sarajevo.
It was an ANU Law course in transitional justice, combined with a deep love of history, that motivated Matilda to apply for an internship at the Tribunal.
“I’m fascinated by the role of courts, particularly international tribunals, in their storytelling role. They play a significant part in writing history as well as informing and recording human rights abuses,” Matilda said.
“Courts and tribunals – like the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and others in Cambodia and South Africa – allow the stories of ordinary people to be told.
“In a legitimised, formal legal setting these tribunals do the work that will create the permanent memory of what happened during conflicts such as the Bosnian war,” Matilda said.
ANU Law lecturer Kate Ogg said Matilda had excelled in a number of international law subjects and this was undoubtedly one of the reasons she was successful in securing the very sought after internship at the Tribunal.
“Her time at the ICTY will allow her to gain real world experience in international law and give her a platform for launching a career in the field,” Ms Ogg said.
Matilda is looking forward to completing her honours thesis in June, under the guidance of Professor Kim Rubenstein, which uses feminist principles to assess the impact of the Federal Government’s ‘neutral citizenship’ terror laws that allow Australians to have their citizenships cancelled if they are dual nationals.
The internship caps off an extraordinary 12 months for Matilda who was part of the ANU team that won the Australian round of the prestigious Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition and represented Australia in the international competition in Washington in March.
She also won the law category of the prestigious global Undergraduate Awards in 2015 - the world's largest academic awards that recognise innovation and excellence at undergraduate level - presented with her medal by the President of Ireland at the awards ceremony in Dublin last November.
Matilda, who graduates mid-year, will join ANU Law student Sarah Castles and alumnus Harry Aitkin who are also undertaking internships at international courts and tribunals in The Hague.
BY LYN LARKIN