Communicating law, building peace: the pedagogy of public outreach from war crimes courts

08 Aug 2017

There has been a growing interdisciplinary concern with the implications of public outreach processes from war crimes trials for new forms of citizenship in the wake of violent conflict. The enactment of such outreach, through seminars, civil society initiatives and workshops, provides a glimpse of the tensions between different conceptions of justice, belonging and rights in the post-conflict period. Specifically, such events constitute a rare public arena in the more fragmented and securitised domain of international legal practices. This paper focuses on a series of public workshops for survivors of wartime sexual violence carried out in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) 2011–13. Drawing on participant observations and open-ended interviews, we argue that such public outreach programmes can be viewed as a form of pedagogy, where the materials, format and arrangement of the events structure the nature of participation and engagement. In doing so we are making two contributions. First, the discussion advances understandings of public outreach as a form of pedagogy, illustrating how practices of dissent, rejection and resistance animate processes of public outreach. Second, the paper illuminates the role of pedagogy as a governmental instrument, reflecting the micro-situations within which individuals are interpellated into the state.