San Diegan Zarko Perovic To Study War Crime Prevention As Rhodes Scholar
Zarko Perovic and his family know the lasting toll taken when military forces target civilians. They left war-torn Serbia to come to the United States in 1998.
“They literally plant hatred, eroding confidence in government, making people feel unsafe, really disrupting daily life,” he said.
Perovic, 23, will focus his studies on how to prevent and better prosecute war crimes as one of the 2014 Rhodes Scholars.
Each year 32 Americans start two to three years of work on a full scholarship at Oxford University in England.
The Torrey Pines High School grad began to see how international law can right such wrongs as an undergraduate at the University of California Berkeley.
He draws inspiration that he can play a role in reducing war atrocities from past diplomatic successes, like the international chemical-weapons ban.
“Even in the depths of war, where humanity shows it most ugly face, you even have a touch of humanity," Perovic said. "To me, that’s one of our most beautiful achievements as a society.”
Since graduating from Berkeley in 2012, Perovic has worked at the U.S. State Department. He is designing a system to better document war crimes so that they can be more effectively prosecuted.