[New publication] The opening statement of the prosecution in international criminal trials

Published 22 April 2021

@Hilko Visser - Asser researcher Sofia Stolk

Out now: ‘The Opening Statement of the Prosecution in International Criminal Trials, A solemn tale of horror’ (Routledge), by Asser researcher Dr Sofia Stolk. This new book addresses the discursive importance of the prosecution’s opening statement before an international criminal tribunal.

Opening statements are considered to be largely irrelevant to the official legal proceedings but are simultaneously deployed to frame important historical events. They are widely cited in international media as well as academic texts; yet have been ignored by legal scholars as objects of study in their own right. This new publication aims to remedy this neglect, by analysing the narrative that is articulated in the opening statements of different prosecutors at different tribunals in different times.

Tensions and contradictions
The book takes an interdisciplinary approach and looks at the meaning of the opening narrative beyond its function in the legal process in a strict sense, discussing the ways in which the trial is situated in time and space and how it portrays the main characters. It shows how perpetrators and victims, places and histories, are juridified in a narrative that, whilst purporting to legitimise the trial, the tribunal and international criminal law itself, is beset with tensions and contradictions.

Providing an original perspective on the operation of international criminal law, this book will be of considerable interest to those working in this area, as well as those with relevant interests in international/transnational law more generally, critical legal studies, law and literature, socio-legal studies, law and geography and international relations. Read more and order as hard copy or e-book here.

The Opening Statement of the Prosecution in International Criminal Trials
A Solemn Tale of Horror
By Sofia Stolk
Copyright Year 2021
ISBN 9780367279349
Published April 20, 2021 by Routledge
168 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations

Dr Sofia Stolk is a researcher in the Asser research strand Dispute settlement and adjudication. This research strand is organised around inquiry into attributes of trustworthy dispute settlement in international adjudication. 

Interested in art & law?  
From July 15-16 2021, Sofia Stolk will organise the Asser Academy Masterclass ‘The art and international law laboratory’. This creative Masterclass will provide you with an overview of contemporary research in the field of art and international law as well as the areas of visual anthropology and legal design. In three consequent workshops, you will experiment collaboratively with artistic tools to develop creative and innovative solutions for legal problems, under the guidance of professional artists from various disciplines. This Masterclass will expand your legal toolbox with insights from the arts and visual studies. Read more and sign up.