Redacted: The Production of Secrecy in War Crimes Trials


ACLS Fellowship Program




War crimes tribunals try to produce authoritative legal judgments that can reconcile torn societies. But in order to do their work, they rely heavily on secrecy – closed sessions, shielded testimony, confidential documents. The use of secrecy is practical but also in tension with the transformational purposes of these courts. This project examines how three major war crimes tribunals produce secrecy, how trial participants understand the purposes of secrecy, and what effects secrecy has on their larger goals for promoting post-conflict justice. What are the purposes, the benefits, and the costs of secrecy for prosecuting war crimes?