- Expression of Justice or Political Trial? Discursive Battles in the Karadžić Case
- Human Rights Quarterly
- Volume | Issue number
- 35 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
This article examines the discourses of prosecution and defence in the case of Radovan Karadžić before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. It contributes to current debates about the legitimacy and utility of international criminal justice, which have tended to neglect the examination of actual trials, and particularly the role of the defence. We draw on the legal doctrine of "expressivism", which treats trials as theatrical, message-sending spectacles, to theorise the connection between normative legitimacy, actual support and utility of international criminal justice as dynamic, and partly determined in court. We conclude that the defence by Karadžić disrupts and thwarts the pedagogical messaging intended by expressivism to a considerable extent, and reflect on the generalizability of our findings by considering the elements of the actors, audiences, and the stage in the posited "courtroom drama".
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