A Mouthful of Crimes: Facing the Challenges of Culture-Specific Propaganda as Evidence in International War Crimes Trials

52 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2017

See all articles by Predrag Dojcinovic

Predrag Dojcinovic

University of Connecticut, Human Rights Institute; International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (1998-2017)

Date Written: May 12, 2017

Abstract

The concept of propaganda is an integral part of the vocabulary in all war crimes trials. It is, however, evident in both theory and practice that there is a multifaceted conceptual confusion in the interaction of propaganda, war crimes trials and international law. This contribution explores the significance of the propaganda-related evidence present in the culturally specific language and discourse identified in the records of the International Military Tribunal (IMT), International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The key to understanding the ontological and evidentiary intricacies of any propagandistic situation begins at its conceptual-linguistic foundations. Examples from the Nazi Germany propaganda lexicon include concepts such as arisieren (aryanize) and aufnorden (nordify), suggesting the purification of their ancestral blood, followed more than half a century later by the Rwandan concepts of "Inyenzi," cockroaches, or "Inkotanyi," a reference to the nineteenth century military forces in Rwanda, and strong derogatory terms such as "Ustasha," "Turk" and "Balija," used during the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. Given these instances, international criminal proceedings have seen the emergence of a new type of evidence: a culture-determined plural of the many manifestations of propaganda. As a result, propaganda can neither be interpreted nor understood without an advanced forensic approach to the language employed by the propagandist. Utilizing a cross-disciplinary combination of philology, philosophy, history, psychology, anthropology, political science, linguistics, literary studies and other relevant fields of research, including law, as an amalgamation of cognitive and social science research with the humanities, this contribution employs a novel hybrid method to criminal and legal analysis. Applying this approach to some of the major propaganda cases in international criminal justice demonstrates how and why this hybrid method should be introduced into the process of identification and prosecution of the guilty minds of the propagandists and the networks of their associates.

Keywords: propaganda, international criminal law, IMT, ICTY, ICTR, evidence, cognitive science

Suggested Citation

Dojcinovic, Predrag, A Mouthful of Crimes: Facing the Challenges of Culture-Specific Propaganda as Evidence in International War Crimes Trials (May 12, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2991038 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2991038

Predrag Dojcinovic (Contact Author)

University of Connecticut, Human Rights Institute ( email )

Storrs, CT 06269-1063
United States

International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (1998-2017) ( email )

UN-ICTY
P.O. Box 13888
The Hague, Zuid-Holland 2501 EW
Netherlands

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
179
Abstract Views
437
rank
174,444
PlumX Metrics