Visualization in the international criminal justice: from Srebrenica on

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Author: Aleksandr Evseev

DOI: 10.21128/2226-2059-2023-3-112-129

Keywords: international criminal justice; framing; electronic evidence; visual culture; digital war


The article analyzes the concept of “international criminal justice as theater”, one which has recently become widespread in Western doctrine. The author presents arguments in its favor and dwells on the heuristic potential hidden in it. He concludes that the excessive spectacle inherent in modern international litigation is detrimental to the quality of the administration of justice and often discredits it. In addition, according to these cases’ judges themselves, the emerging trend of visualization of evidence distracts them from clarifying details of real importance for correct resolution of the case, thereby preventing the establishment, albeit formally, of the truth. This article introduces an ideal or typical construction of an image which is interpreted as the court’s and the proceedings’ participants’ representation of themselves and other actors. It is stated that although images are not and cannot be a determining factor in international criminal justice, they often influence the atmosphere in the courtroom and form the general tone adopted by the media when describing ongoing trials. Particular attention is paid to electronic evidence, primarily to that which is freely available on the Internet. The practice of international criminal justice bodies shows that evidence presented by the Office of the Prosecutor of a particular tribunal increasingly includes materials captured on mobile phone cameras by victims of the conflict themselves or by eyewitnesses. This, in turn, leads to the unique situation where there is so much relevant content from different sources that neither the prosecution nor the defense is able to analyze it in its entirety. It also has other downsides – first, information that exists in electronic form can be easily falsified, and, second, as a result of “information noise”, society often loses the ability to empathize.

About the author: Aleksandr Evseev – Candidate of Sciences (Ph.D.) in Law, Associate Professor, Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia.

Citation: Evseev A. (2023) Vizual’nye obrazy v mezhdunarodnom ugolovnom pravosudii: ot Srebrenitsy i dalee [Visualization in the international criminal justice: from Srebrenica on]. Mezhdunarodnoe pravosudie, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 112–129. (In Russian).


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