2004 Homo Homini Award Given to Natasa Kandic and the Humanitarian Law Center

The People in Need Foundation (PINF), a nonprofit, non-governmental organization whose mission statement is “to inspire a largeness of spirit in Czech society by helping others in need, and to promote democratic freedoms for all”, awarded its 2004 Homo Homini Award to Natasa Kandic, Executive Director of the Humanitarian Law Center on 14 April 2004 at the openning of a festival for documentary films on human rights.  The People in Need Foundation introduced its “Homo Homini” award in 1995, which the foundation presents yearly to an individual who has made a significant personal contribution to the protection of human rights and the promotion of democracy through non-violent means and has displayed exceptional courage in defense of these values.

The Board of Directors of People in Need decided to present the Homo Homini award to Ms. Kandic and her organization, the Humanitarian Law Center, for her ongoing defence of human rights and her personal courage in bringing to light crimes against humanity committed in the former Yugoslavia.  “By this decision,” they stated, “People in Need awards a constant resistence to nationalism, a determination to properly investigate war-crimes and to seek the conviction of those responsible.”

PINF conducts national relief campaingns on Czech Televtion, and complements and supports its relief work with vigorous advocacy for human rights and democratic freedoms, in close partnership with cultural and civic organizations. As part of this effort, in 1999 PINF established the annual ‘One World’ international human rights film festival, the first in Central Europe.

At the openning of the film festival, Ms. Kandic received her award from the main sponsor of the festival, former Czech president Vaclav Havel.  Upon recieving her award, Ms. Kandic reiterated the main point of the film “Kidnapping”, directed by Ivan Markov (produced by B92) which openned the festival, namely that normal people are afraid to speak out about crimes that they have witnessed, and stated that “. . .it is so important to speak the truth.  Everyone who has empathy with other people must tell the truth.”