Association for Political and Legal Anthropology
Volunteered - Oral Presentation Session
In contribution to current discussions on scalar politics, this paper interrogates the legal production of “truth” in international courts. My work responds to the call by legal anthropologist Jessica Greenberg (2018) for research that examines how forms of power dialogically inform one another in the expanding field of international jurisdiction. I am interested in the relationship between the authority of international courts and that of NGOs in former Yugoslavia. My paper asks: Who are the truth-makers in the proceedings of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), and what forms of power do they possess and/or appeal to? Furthermore, I explore how individual cases are mobilized in rhetorics of national identity-making and struggles over international reputation between post-Yugoslav nations. My research is methodologically approached through interpretation of digitized court transcripts of the ICTY and its currently operating residual mechanism, and through the case study analysis of international courtroom ethnographies. I argue that parastate institutions such as international courts, NGOs, and the EU operate with similar procedural forms of multicultural liberal legalism and thus prioritize certain “truths.” In this process of international court authority production, politics at localized levels are recalibrated through scale-jumping, a process that is motivated and pressured by multiple networks of power that are gendered, classed, and racialized and take specific forms in a postwar space.