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International Criminal Tribunals as Actors of Domestic Change

The Impact on Media Coverage, Volume 1


Edited By Klaus Bachmann, Irena Ristić and Gerhard Kemp

Do International Criminal Tribunals trigger social change, provide reconciliation, stabilize fragile post-conflict societies? Many authors claim they do, but they base their assumptions mainly on theoretical considerations and opinion polls. The editors and authors of this book take a different position: based on extensive field research in nine European and African countries, they examine whether tribunal decisions resulted in changes in media frames about the conflicts which gave rise to the creation of these tribunals. International Tribunals hardly ever shape or change the grand narratives about wars and other conflicts, but they often manage to trigger small changes in media frames which, in some cases, even lead to public reflexion about guilt and responsibility and more awareness for (the respective enemy’s) victims. On an empirical basis, this book shows the potential of International Criminal Justice, the possibilities, but also the limits of International Criminal Tribunals. Volume 1 presents the evidence from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Serbia and Croatia.

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All our researchers are grateful for the support of the Polish National Science Center (Narodowe Centrum Nauki),1 which sponsored the project for five years and to Jovanka Matić from the Institute of Social Sciences in Belgrade, Katarina Ristić from Leipzig University, Jelena Subotić from Georgia State University (USA), Ireneusz Kamiński from the Jagiellonian University in Kraków and the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw and Vjeran Pavlaković from the University of Rijeka, who at different stages of the project acted as internal reviewers of the chapters. All chapters were additionally reviewed at various occasions across the board by our authors. Klaus Bachmann and Gerhard Kemp are also grateful for two scholarships which helped them to work together on the final version of this publication during a fellowship at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin in 20172 and at STIAS in Stellenbosch, South Africa, in 2018, where Dire Tladi from the University of Pretoria joined them as an additional reviewer.3

Surprises are probably inevitable in the course of a five-year project comprising more than 10 researchers from almost the same number of countries. Some researchers left us already at the beginning, mostly due to advances in their professional career, some left us at a later stage for the same reason. This never was a big problem for the project. In one case, however, the reason for leaving was tragic and the consequences difficult to cope with: In 2017 we learned that our colleague and...

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