This Note will suggest that the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) can use Karadzic's texts and affectations to warrior poetry in the pretrial brief and in admitted evidence, if and when Karadzic ultimately appears for trial. The violent nationalism of radio broadcasts, political journals, speeches, interviews, and manifestos have been fair game for the Office of the Prosecutor to make their cases in the last decade in both the Yugoslavia and Rwanda Tribunals. Why should poetry, perhaps the most powerful maker of myth and in the Yugoslavia context, a great mover of dangerous men and women, be any different in the eyes of international law? Even beyond providing background proof for rabid nationalism, the texts, videos, and other testimonies relative to Karadzic as poet-warrior could have value in demonstrating mens rea for crimes Karadzic is accused of orchestrating. This Note will suggest in particular that the materials at least have evidentiary value in the mens rea determination for genocide, the most significant crime Karadzic has been indicted for and the offense that has been branded the "ultimate crime.” The videotape of the world's deadliest poetry reading as well as Karadzic's poems and incitements with poetry at the front lines should be a part of the Prosecution's case just as these other evidentiary and context-building rhetorical texts.
Is Poetry a War Crime? Reckoning for Radovan Karadzic the Poet-Warrior,
Mich. J. Int'l L.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mjil/vol26/iss2/4