Between Communal Survival and National Aspiration: Armenian Genocide Refugees, the League of Nations, and the Practices of Interwar Humanitarianism

While the cause of the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire had played an important role in shaping Western attitudes and ideas about humanitarian intervention and national self-determination, the collapse of efforts to create an Armenian state in the wake of genocide and World War I led the nascent League of Nations to elaborate efforts within the repertoire of humanitarianism to preserve the Armenians as a distinct community. Those efforts bring into relief evolving interwar thought and policies about refugees, human trafficking, and the place of international institutions in the protection of civilians. The practical failures of the League’s projects provided a field in which “rights talk” could take place and the modern refugee régime emerge. Continue reading →

Times of Reckoning: History, Evidence and Truth-making after Yugoslavia

This post is part of a symposium, Doing Justice to Truth in International Criminal Courts and Tribunals. All currently available contributions to the symposium can be found here. A PDF of this post can be downloaded here. The idea that we are in a “post-truth” era is lately on everyone’s lips. The popular, scholarly and comedic analyses of Donald Trump’s ambivalent relationship to facticity would already fill volumes.[1] Yet the instability of meaning and the uncomfortable fit between denotational content and interpretive frameworks are not Continue reading →

“The Judgement Is not Made Now; The Judgement Will Be Made in the Future”: “Politically Motivated” Defence Lawyers and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda”s “Historical Record”

This post is part of a symposium, Doing Justice to Truth in International Criminal Courts and Tribunals. All currently available contributions to the symposium can be found here. A PDF of this post can be downloaded here. In December 2014, after twenty years of operation, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) delivered its last appeal judgment. Established in November 1994 by the United Nations Security Council, the ICTR was tasked with putting on trial any person accused of committing the following in Rwanda in Continue reading →

Forensic Truth? Scientific evidence in international criminal justice

This post is part of a symposium, Doing Justice to Truth in International Criminal Courts and Tribunals. All currently available contributions to the symposium can be found here. A PDF of this post can be downloaded here. Truth and justice are distinct concepts. Yet, recent years have witnessed the emergence and gradual recognition of the right to the truth. If it first was invoked in connection with the crime of enforced disappearances, this right is progressively becoming generic and self-standing. It has been defined by Continue reading →

Deconstructing the Epistemic Challenges to Mass Atrocity Prosecutions

This post is part of a symposium, Doing Justice to Truth in International Criminal Courts and Tribunals. All currently available contributions to the symposium can be found here. A PDF of this post can be downloaded here. This post briefly summarizes a full-length law review article that will appear in volume 75 of the Washington & Lee Law Review. International criminal law faces unprecedented challenges. Some of these challenges generate widespread publicity whereas others are less well-publicized but just as concerning. The not-very-well-publicized challenge that Continue reading →

Truth Beyond the ICC

This post is part of a symposium, Doing Justice to Truth in International Criminal Courts and Tribunals. All currently available contributions to the symposium can be found here. A PDF of this post can be downloaded here.  As the Ongwen trial has made clear, the significance that international criminal trials have for the production of truth resides not only in the narratives forged within the courtroom but also in the impact trials have on the political discourses and practices around the trial. In the Uganda Continue reading →

The ICC, Dominic Ongwen, and the Politics of Truth

This post is part of a symposium, Doing Justice to Truth in International Criminal Courts and Tribunals. All currently available contributions to the symposium can be found here. A PDF of this post can be downloaded here. The trial of former Lord’s Resistance Army commander Dominic Ongwen at the International Criminal Court has thrown into relief the difficulties of seeking truth through international criminal trials. The ICC prosecution has constructed a series of narratives in order to establish the legitimacy of Ongwen’s trial, narratives that Continue reading →

International Criminal Tribunals as Epistemic Engines Or Why Legal Truth Is Not Sui Generis

This post is part of a symposium, Doing Justice to Truth in International Criminal Courts and Tribunals. All currently available contributions to the symposium can be found here. A PDF of this post can be downloaded here. Introduction[1] International criminal tribunals (ICTs) are epistemic engines. That is, they are institutions that systematically produce knowledge or find truths. And they do so not only in the way usually recognised in doctrinal scholarly works on international criminal law, i.e. in the sense emphasized, e.g., by the ICTR Continue reading →

Archives of Knowledge: Power, Ownership and Contestation at the ICTR’s Archive

This post is part of a symposium, Doing Justice to Truth in International Criminal Courts and Tribunals. All currently available contributions to the symposium can be found here. A PDF of this post can be downloaded here. Archives are sites of power, contestation, and control. The very term archive derives from the ancient Greek word arkeion, which referred to the magistrates (archons) house where official records were kept and protected. The magistrate drew their power through protecting, controlling and interpreting these records in order to Continue reading →

Sentencing at the ICTY: Doing justice to complex realities of international crimes?

This post is part of a symposium, Doing Justice to Truth in International Criminal Courts and Tribunals. All currently available contributions to the symposium can be found here. A PDF of this post can be downloaded here. International crimes such as war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide are manifestations of large-scale serious violations of human rights, which have been defined as the most serious crimes of international concern. They constitute a prime example of collective, systematic criminality. Usually, they are committed by a multiplicity Continue reading →

Symposium: Doing Justice to Truth in International Criminal Courts and Tribunals

This post is part of a symposium, Doing Justice to Truth in International Criminal Courts and Tribunals. All currently available contributions to the symposium can be found here. A PDF of this post can be downloaded here. As the field of international criminal justice has institutionalized over the course of the past 70 years, communities—both local and international—have increasingly turned to international criminal courts and tribunals (ICTs) to serve as arbiters of truth in the aftermath of mass atrocities. In turn, ICTs have acted as Continue reading →