Response Paper


In the second part of his book Memory of Judgment, (2001), Lawrence Douglas analyzes the Eichmann trial, showing how it provided a more attractive and durable precedent in the history. The author believes that this trial proved successful and managed to correct the misplaced Nuremberg priorities of crimes against humanity and peace. The main theme raised in this chapter is justice. Douglas notes that the trial recognized the memories of the victims, their rights and their dignity since their testimonies mattered more than anything else during the proceedings. Another major theme under discussion is legal neutrality whereby the jurisdiction decided to focus on didactic aims by focusing on the crimes that were not addressed at Nuremberg. A testimonial form was used to represent the victims of the Holocaust in the court; the main focus of the process was for justice to prevail by the victims telling their stories, not regarding whether it clarified the guilt of Eichmann or not.

 In their article titled “Victims and Translation Justice,” Kieran McEvoy and Kirsten McConnachie explore the issues regarding the construction of victimhood within the society. The main theme in this article is the phenomenon of victimhood as the authors focus on the manner in which the voices of the victims are realized or impeded in the transitional justice. Another issue evident in the article is blame. Namely, the authors address the importance of blame, especially the manner in which it can render the victims’ reliance upon blamelessness. McEvoy and McConnachie state that deployment of the victims’ rights always comes at a high price.

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Reflection of the Limits of Law

These two readings reflect the limits of law in various ways. In the case of Eichmann trial, Douglas demonstrates how difficult it was to obtain legal neutrality despite the fact that those who presented the Holocaust victims used a testimonial form to allow justice to prevail in the court room. Moreover, Douglas exposes a profound irony when discussing the fact that, instead of relying on the witnesses’ testimonies, the court decided to rely on universal jurisdiction claims and allowing the community of the victims to judge over the genocide that had been committed against them.  On the other hand, McEvoy and McConnachie show how blame renders the victims’ powerless such that, in the end, no justice prevailed over them. Blame makes it difficult to determine the victims that deserve and those that do not deserve the reification of the perpetrators. These two readings show how the law might seek the means to attain its goals but fail to provide justice because of several obstacles.

Relevance of the Readings to Tribunal Design

These two readings are relevant because the authors have talked about justice and how sometimes it is overlooked. Unless a proper distinction is made regarding what is legal and it is preserved, then law and justice cannot be properly understood in the tribunal design. The authors have both elaborated on the importance of hearing the voice of the victims through testimonies and using it to conduct justice. If the victims are not heard, it would end up limiting the law to enact justice in the courtroom.  

Relations of the Readings to the Case Study

The UN commission is hoping to form a tribunal for Syria war crimes after more than 220, 000 people have been killed in the war. The construction of victimhood that is addressed by McEvoy and McConnachie can help bring to justice all the crimes that have been committed during the war in Syria. The names of the main suspects have been shared by the international prosecutors who hope that by bringing the perpetrators to judgment, the memories of the victims and their dignity can be restored when the tribunal is held. In addition, Douglas talks about using a testimonial form to represent the victims, which can also apply to the case of Syria mass killings.


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