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Matias Hellman

Born May 16, 1971, Espoo

Master of Arts 2004 (Slavic languages and cultures), University of Helsinki
Master of Laws 2004 (LLM), University of Essex

External Relations Adviser 2010–, International Criminal Court (ICC)
Legacy Officer 2008–2010, International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY)
Liaison Officer 2004–2008, International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY)
Outreach Coordinator 1999–2003, International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY)
Media Analyst 1998–99, Observer Finland

Znati and um(j)eti in Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian. Grammaticalisation of Habitual Auxiliaries. Slavica Helsingiensia, Helsingin Yliopisto, 2005.

The International Criminal Court: the need to foster cooperation, in "Legal dimension of international community: mosaic elements", Centre Européen de Coopération Juridique, 2013. (with Alexander Khodakov and Julie Fraser)

Challenges and limitations of outreach: from the ICTY to the ICC, in "Contested Justice. The Politics and Practice of the International Criminal Court Interventions", Cambridge University Press, 2015.

Photo: Matias Hellman's archive
Written by
Matias Hellman and Tero Juutilainen
Translated by Matthew Billington

My Best Memory from the University of Helsinki

I was proud of my university during my studies, and still am. Every once in a while I find myself boasting about how university education in Finland is both free and open to everyone. The atmosphere is inclusive, students are given a great deal of freedom, and, above all, the opportunities to learn do not depend on wealth.

What particularly attracted me to the Faculty of Arts was that we were not there to chase after profits but to learn, research and pass on knowledge to future generations. Science and humanistic values are at the centre of it all. The humanities have always encouraged students to think for themselves. That is something that cannot be taken for granted. In some countries I have encountered a very strong “must ask the professor” mentality.

I am grateful to the professors and other teachers at the departments of Finnish and Slavonic languages as well as elsewhere at the University for always having the time to discuss matters and share their expertise, and it was not always necessary for those discussions to relate specifically to the courses or assignments. I remember how the professors at Essex seemed to have less time to spare.

Studying at my own pace suited me well, particularly when I experimented with other subjects along with the humanities, and even with other institutes of higher education. On the other hand, perhaps it is not such a bad thing that stricter study deadlines have since been imposed, as they can serve as an inspiration for students to complete their degrees. In my case, my MA thesis remained unfinished for several years when I found work after completing my Bachelor degree. In any case, I believe that the important thing is to create an environment for learning that is both free and open while still maintaining academic standards and an air of professionalism.

One of the finest moments at the university was when I finished my own publication in 2005. I did not pursue an academic career any further, but I felt that I had made my own concrete contribution to linguistic research. The publication was the result of many years of work as it was based on my bachelor’s and master’s theses.

Benjamin Ferencz and Matias Hellman. Photo from the archive of Matias Hellman.


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