The Shifting Status of Grand Narratives in War Crimes Trials and International Law: History and Politics in the Courtroom
D. Zarkov, M. Glasius (eds.), Narratives of Justice In and Out of the Courtroom: Former Yugoslavia and Beyond (Springer 2014)
27 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2016
Date Written: May 1, 2014
This article addresses the grand narratives that have historically manifested themselves through the so-called pan-movements such as pan-Germanism or pan-Slavism, or resurfaced under the names of ‘Greater Germany’, ‘Greater Serbia’ and ‘Greater Croatia’. The importance of the evidentiary and forensic impact of grand narratives on the proceedings and jurisprudence has to a large extent been underestimated. In all major international war crimes trials, grand narratives constitute part of the conceptual and evidentiary foundation of the trials, discretely blurring the separation line between the concepts of legal and extralegal as applied in the international legal arena. From their initial relevance as a mere contextual necessity, the post-International Military Tribunal (post-IMT) grand narratives may have gradually, and particularly before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), acquired the status of clear-cut forensic evidence. If taken to its ultimate end, this raises the question whether a strong re-emergence of grand narratives in public discourse can, under specific conditions, be viewed through the optic nerves of national and international criminal laws and ultimately defined as crimes of aggression.
Keywords: grand narratives, Greater Germany, Greater Serbia, Greater Croatia, International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Lebensraum, intent, common plan, conspiracy, joint criminal enterprise, causation, mental fingerprints, speech acts, crime of
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