After Reconciliation. On the Closure of the ICTY in The Hague

The court house of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague – Photo: Julian Nitzsche [CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

With the conviction of Ratko Mladić and sentence of life imprisonment imposed in November 2017 by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, one of the main people responsible for the crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina has been called to account. The former Bosnian Serb general was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the genocide in Srebrenica, the siege of Sarajevo and further crimes against humanity.

The extent of the sentence will give some satisfaction to many of the victims. Mladić, however, has not accepted his guilt. He insulted the judges, disrupted trial proceedings and showed himself recalcitrant in confronting reality. This unites him with other defendants indicted by the UN Tribunal. The former Bosnian Croat general, Slobodan Praljak, dramatically staged his rejection of the court in an absolute act of defiance. As the appeal judgment was delivered he declared, „Slobodan Praljak is not a war criminal“. Then, in full view of the astonished judges and the world public, he drank poison and subsequently died. The Serbian warmonger, Vojislav Šešelj, praised the act of suicide as ’heroic’. He knew the Croatian defendant from his own internment in The Hague. This blogpost reflects on the closure of the ICTY, its achievements, and its legacy.


History as Elephant in the Room: Observations from Serbia’s Memory Lab

Where does a contemporary history of Serbia begin? How is the Yugoslav legacy reflected within it? And does all the talk about memory and forgetting in post-conflict societies really help to answer these questions? With such doubts I left for Serbia this October. For the past six years, I have participated in excursions about memory culture across the post-Yugoslav region. Most of the study trips were organized by “Memory Lab”.

logo310This is a network of individuals interested in the culture of dealing with the past in Western Europe and the Western Balkans. Since our first meeting in Sarajevo in 2010, forty memory activists and analysts have travelled together to explore how the societies in Western Europe and the western Balkans perform their history. We have visited Bosnia and Hercegovina, Croatia, France, Germany and the German-Polish borderland, Kosovo and Macedonia, Belgium; and in 2016, our joint study trip has lead us to Serbia.


Der Kampf der Erinnerungen war gestern, oder wie sich Erinnerungskultur gegen den Strich denken lässt

Michael Rothberg, Multidirectional Memory, erschienen bei Stanford University Press

Das englische Adjektiv „multidirectional“ ist ein ziemlich technischer Begriff. Auf gut Deutsch bedeutet er „Mehrrichtungs-“ oder „Mehrwegs-“ und als erstes kommt einem da die Mehrwegflasche in den Sinn. Der amerikanische Literaturwissenschaftler Michael Rothberg hat „multidirectional“ trotzdem auf Kultur angewandt. „Multidirectional Memory“ ist ein Versuch, Erinnerungskultur in mehrere Richtungen, sozusagen gegen den Strich, zu denken. Damit stellt „Multidirectional Memory“ ein Modell vor, das eine interdisziplinäre und transnationale Untersuchung von Erinnerungskultur stützt.