Writing History in International Criminal Trials: Introduction

Richard Ashby Wilson, Writing History in International Criminal Trials. Cambridge University Press, 2011. Selected as a Choice “Outstanding Academic Title” by the American Library Association.

25 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2012 Last revised: 27 Nov 2020

See all articles by Richard Ashby Wilson

Richard Ashby Wilson

University of Connecticut School of Law; Department of Anthropology, University of Connecticut

Date Written: November 19, 2010

Abstract

Why do international criminal tribunals write histories of the origins and causes of armed conflicts? Based on original empirical research with judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys and expert witnesses in three international criminal tribunals, Writing History in International Criminal Trials seeks to understand how law and history are combined in the courtroom. Historical testimony is now an integral part of international trials, with prosecutors and defense teams using background testimony to pursue decidedly legal objectives. In the Slobodan Milošević trial, the prosecution sought to demonstrate special intent to commit genocide by reference to a long-standing animus, nurtured within a nationalist mindset. For their part, the defense called historical witnesses to undermine charges of superior responsibility, and to mitigate the sentence by representing crimes as reprisals. Although legal ways of knowing are distinct from those of history, the two are effectively combined in international trials in a way that challenges us to rethink the relationship between law and history.

Note: Writing History in International Criminal trials was selected by Choice as an “Outstanding Academic Title” in the Law category in 2012.

Keywords: International Criminal Law, History and Law, War Crimes Trials, Anthropology of Law

Suggested Citation

Wilson, Richard Ashby, Writing History in International Criminal Trials: Introduction (November 19, 2010). Richard Ashby Wilson, Writing History in International Criminal Trials. Cambridge University Press, 2011. Selected as a Choice “Outstanding Academic Title” by the American Library Association. , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2178188 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2178188

Richard Ashby Wilson (Contact Author)

University of Connecticut School of Law ( email )

65 Elizabeth Street
Hartford, CT 06105
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.uconn.edu/faculty/profiles/richard-wilson

Department of Anthropology, University of Connecticut ( email )

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Storrs, CT 06269-1176
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://anthropology.uconn.edu/person/richard-ashby-wilson/

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