The Laws of Memory: The ICTY, the Archive, and Transitional Justice

Campbell, Kirsten. 2013. The Laws of Memory: The ICTY, the Archive, and Transitional Justice. Social and Legal Studies, 22(2), pp. 247-269. ISSN 0964-6639 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has generated huge archival holdings. With the ICTY’s impending closure, the archive has become part of broader debates regarding its legacy for the former Yugoslavia. In particular, the memorial function of this archive has now become highly contentious. Ultimately, these concern the relationship between law and collective memory. This article uses the example of the ICTY archive to explore the relationship between law and memory in post-conflict transition. It argues that this ‘legal archive’ functions as a mnemonic system that produces ‘legal memory’ through its juridical, international, and transitional structure. It then considers the competing discourses of how the legal archive remembers or forgets the justice of law and the injustice of war. Ultimately, these discourses figure the archive as a ‘legal memorial’ that fails to produce collective memory. For this reason, I develop an alternative concept of ‘memorial law’ in order to suggest other memorial practices that can sustain legal memory as a living memory, rather than as a dead archive

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology > Unit for Global Justice (UGJ) > Gender of Justice


1 January 2013Published

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Date Deposited:

09 Jun 2013 12:59

Last Modified:

09 Jul 2021 13:51

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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