Les enjeux de la ritualisation judiciaire. Une réflexion sur les formes du procès
Coordinators: Diane Bernard (U. Saint-Louis – Bruxelles)
Our experience in Oñati
On June 9 and 10, researchers from various countries and disciplines, at various stages of their academic careers, met in Onati for ‘a reflection on the forms of trials’ focusing on ‘the judicial ritualization’. Convened by Diane Bernard, this workshop was truly interdisciplinary, as lawyers, philosophers, anthropologists, historians, criminologists, a sociologist, and a psychoanalyst shared ideas along intense debates. The Institute revealed itself an inspiring and much propitious place for developing a theoretical framework, calling for further development and publication.
Our questioning originated in the scarcity of researches on the ritual as it is implemented before and by international criminal jurisdictions. Competent for the so-called ‘worst’ crimes (genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and aggression, mainly), the latter tribunals are relatively new (1993-) and nonetheless deeply marked by (traditional, western, and unproblematized) decorum.
The first objective of our workshop was therefore to fill in this gap in scholarship, by clarifying the reasons and aims of such a ritualization, and by articulating these ‘forms of trials’ with the ‘symbolic’ or expressive function(s) of criminal trials. Our second objective was to expand this reflection, including other fields of investigation (other branches of law, para-legal or extra-judiciary reactions to mass atrocities, non-penal strategies of conflict resolution) as well as new ‘forms’ of and in trials (as video- and audio-technologies). Debates and presentations led our group – which has become a team since its stay in Onati – to articulate various approaches to ritual, ritualization, and ceremonial (para-)justice.
One of our intermediary hypothesis is that international criminal law might be an indicator of transversal, fundamental evolutions of law, and that such evolutions deserve an interdisciplinary, and expanded analysis. To be continued!