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This traces the UN’s involvement in Rwanda from the build-up to the genocide to the creation of the tribunal and the archive. It examines why, having been willing to stand by during the genocide, an international court came to be seen as a solution to the genocide, and what this reveals about the politics and purpose of the archive. I argue that the introduction of the legal terminology of ‘genocide’ during the violence was a key turning point in the UN’s intervention, as the violence became something that targeted the international community as a whole. The chapter also offers a brief overview of the ICTR and the archive, and here shows that, at the start of the tribunal, a very broad set of strategies underpinned the archive and emphasised the tribunal’s role in determining individual responsibility, establishing the truth, providing a space for victims to testify and reconcile with their pasts, and contribute to the development of international criminal law and international peace and security.
This chapter focuses on the archive’s concepts and objects. This first examines how the tribunal’s legal rules shaped the archive, setting out how the court’s statute and ever-evolving jurisprudence created the framework through which the archive’s records were produced. Beginning to get to the political nature of this imagining, the chapter also demonstrates how certain interpretations of the law ended up preventing records from being produced – such as about the international nature of the genocide from entering the archive – and cemented the use of trials as a key governance tool within the international community. The second part zeros in on arguably the two most important objects for the archive: victims and perpetrators. Exploring how these were constituted in particular ways points to how this produced distinctive visions of community and also how this resulted in a number of conflicts between the archives strategies.
This chapter looks at how other ICTR actors influenced the way in which the archive was contested. It begins by returning to the themes set out at the end of Chapter 2 and explores how the legal actors of the court initially pursued an expansive approach to the trials in search of truth, justice and reconciliation. However, this approach to prosecutions changed over time as the tribunal began to focus simply on getting as many verdicts as possible, as quickly as possible. As such, the conception of justice underpinning the archive became far more restricted and more closely resembled a more traditional form of retributive justice. This, then, shows the fragmenting of the tribunal’s initial purpose. This chapter identifies three main factors behind this shift: the solidification of the legal rules that underpinned the trials; the relationship between the tribunal and other UN organs – and particularly the Security Council’s decision in early 2000s that the tribunal had to close down as quickly as possible; and the ICTR’s acquiescence to the RPF’s demands that the tribunal halt investigations into RPF crimes during the genocide.
Chapters 4 and 5 explore how various subject positions (or what Foucault describes as enunciative modalities) influenced how knowledge was produced within the archive, from which perspective records were constructed and, ultimately, what was to be archived. In Chapter 4, ‘Contesting the Archive’, I focus on the witnesses, who played a far more significant role in constructing the archive than scholars normally credit. Whilst this shows how legal actors constrained what witnesses could record within the archive, it also demonstrates how witnesses were able to contest these parameters both in terms of which crimes would be recorded, but also how the law was to account for violence. This contestation also destabilised many of the objects and subjects that the legal discourse tried to produce, such as what constituted a victim or perpetrator.
Chapter 7, ‘The MICT and the Archive’, turns to the Residual Mechanism for the International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), the institution that took over the remaining functions of the ICTR after it closed down. This looks at the extent to which the logics that underpinned the ICTR’s archive were replicated at the MICT, specifically through a reading of the materiality of the archive, which sits at the heart of the new MICT complex in Arusha. In doing so, this demonstrates that whilst the rhetoric that surrounded the MICT revived the broad idea of justice that underpinned the ICTR at is inception, the reality was that an even narrower vision of justice came to underpin the archive. This also draws on Pierre Nora’s understanding of Lieux de Memoire to examine the dynamic between remembering and forgetting that is at the heart of the archive.
Chapter 6, ‘Imagining a Community’, brings together, and builds on, the findings made throughout the book about the nature of the international community imagined within the archive. This shows that whilst the tribunal functioned as a site of liberal international governance, that underneath this liberal vision sat a distinctly illiberal understanding of community. In particular this shows that the archive divided the international community into the international, as a site of peace and order, and the local, as a site of barbarity; protected a space wherein violence was a legitimate aspect of international relations; and projected a patriarchal and colonial vision of community as the voice of the subaltern was denied.
This chapter provides the framework for the book’s analysis of the ICTR’s archive. First it establishes, theoretically, the link between archives, and the formation of community, as the archive is presented as a site where the themes of law, knowledge and governance coalesce. Second, it looks at other scholarly work on international courts for insights on the interrelationship between law, knowledge and governance and argues that this work has, to date, wrongly treated courts as sites of ‘knowledge deficit’, and further that there is a need to understand how the inner workings of the court contribute to the formation of particular types of community. Finally, drawing on Foucault and Ann Stoler’s work, it shows how the archive can function as an analytical and methodological tool to examine the politics of knowledge production in international courts.
This brings these findings together and considers what this tells us about the role of archives in international criminal justice and international politics. This reveals a complex picture where the principles and strategies that underpinned knowledge production within the ICTR’s archive shifted over time, from a form of restorative justice to a more strictly retributive model. This also meant a shift from more far-reaching records of violence produced under the witnesses’ influence to a more legalistic record of violence. Over time, the archive, then, less closely reflected the needs and priorities of those affected by the genocide and arguably also produced a more conservative vision of the international community. The chapter also examines the extent to which these dynamics are an inevitable part of international criminal justice,. as a liberal tool of international governance, in part by examining the ICC. This argues that whilst there is little to suggest international criminal justice must necessarily act with such a reductionist view of its function, that these issues continue to underpin current practices of international courts.
The archives produced by international courts have received little empirical, theoretical or methodological attention within international criminal justice (ICJ) or international relations (IR) studies. Yet, as this book argues, these archives both contain a significant record of past violence, and also help to constitute the international community as a particular reality. As such, this book first offers an interdisciplinary reading of archives, integrating new insights from IR, archival science and post-colonial anthropology to establish the link between archives and community formation. It then focuses on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda's archive, to offer a critical reading of how knowledge is produced in international courts, provides an account of the type of international community that is imagined within these archives, and establishes the importance of the materiality of archives for understanding how knowledge is produced and contested within the international domain.
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