What promises to be a lively discussion of "International Justice: Between Impunity and Show Trials" will take place at 6:30 p.m. February 3, 2012, at the Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre at SOAS, the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London, England.
Scheduled to speak are:
► Martti Koskenniemi (left), Academy Professor of International Law, University of Helsinki, Finland (photo credit), whose scholarship includes From Apology to Utopia: The Structure of International Legal Argument (2006); and
► Jacques Vergès (right), a defense attorney who, as we've frequently posted, is noted for his representation of persons accused of international crimes. (photo credit)
When former [Serbian] President [Slobodan] Milosevic began his defence at The Hague, now 10 years ago, there was no reason to be surprised by his chosen tactics. By turning the accusing finger towards the West, in particular the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), for their alleged complicity in first destroying what Milosevic called "mini-Yugoslavia" (Bosnia-Herzegovina) and in 1999 waging a war of aggression against his own country, he aimed to avoid conducting his defence under conditions laid down by his adversaries. At the same time, his manoeuvre highlights, like so many other cases, the difficulty of grappling with large political crises by means of individual criminal responsibility and gives reason to question the ability of criminal trial to express or conserve the 'truth' of a complex series of events involving the often erratic action by major international players, Great Powers, the European Union, the United Nations, and so on.Attendees must preregister; online registration and further details are here.
This panel discussion will explore -- on the eve of the decennial anniversary of the Milosevic case -- whether international justice oscillates ambivalently between the wish to punish those individually responsible for international crimes and the danger of staging show trials in that process.