<p>Abstract:</p><p>In the late 1960s Russell-Sartre Tribunal gathered a group of philosophers, lawyers, activists and historians to assess the culpability of the United States for war crimes committed in Vietnam. While traditionally dismissed by commentators as a âshow trial,â the gathering provided inspiration for numerous twentieth and twenty-first century âpeoplesâ tribunals.â This article argues that both the legal and theoretical dimensions of the initial Tribunalâs work have been underappreciated. Specially, the piece builds on Talal Asadâs theory of âritualâ to show how the tribunal cultivated participantsâ and onlookersâ sensibilities and encouraged a political practice of vigilance in examining the military actions of powerful states. The work of the first Russell-Sartre Tribunal envisioned a novel model for thinking about alternative forms of international criminal accountability, and helped constitute an activist, international public thatâdespite the absence of state recognitionâstill spoke in the language of international law.</p>
Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: Mar 15, 2018
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