With the resurgence of the field of international criminal justice in recent decades, expectations have increasingly been placed on international criminal courts to construct consistent and authoritative historical narratives about the mass atrocity situations that fall within their purview. Taking this expectation as its focus, this article seeks to illuminate the historical narrative pluralism that can arise both within and beyond the international criminal courtroom. Within the courtroom, two types of narrative pluralism are identified: first, inter-court narrative pluralism, which arises when different courts examine the same mass atrocity situation from different perspectives; and second, intra-court narrative pluralism, which emerges when narratives constructed within an international criminal judgment are revisited in later cases adjudicated by the same court. Beyond the courtroom, it is contended that even when international criminal courts manage to achieve inter-court and intra-court narrative consistency, in practice a range of social psychological and practical factors tend to generate a gap between the intended meaning of such narratives and their public or social meaning amongst different audiences. By illuminating the historical narrative pluralism that can arise both within and beyond the international criminal courtroom, this article calls for greater critical awareness of the constructed nature of the historical narratives rendered within international criminal judgments, as well as a sobering of the expectations that are typically placed on international criminal courts both with respect to the construction of narratives within the courtroom and their reception beyond it.
Monday, April 2, 2018
Sander: History on Trial: Historical Narrative Pluralism Within and Beyond International Criminal Courts
Barrie Sander (FGV Direito Rio) has posted History on Trial: Historical Narrative Pluralism Within and Beyond International Criminal Courts (International & Comparative Law Quarterly, forthcoming). Here's the abstract: