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Twilight of Impunity: The War Crimes Trial of Slobodan Milosevicby Judith Armatta
Synopses & Reviews
An eyewitness account of the first major international war-crimes tribunal since the Nuremberg trials, Twilight of Impunity is a gripping guide to the prosecution of Slobodan Milosevic for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. The historic trial of the andldquo;Butcher of the Balkansandrdquo; began in 2002 and ended abruptly with Milosevicandrsquo;s death in 2006. Judith Armatta, a lawyer who spent three years in the former Yugoslavia during Milosevicandrsquo;s reign, had a front-row seat at the trial. In Twilight of Impunity she brings the dramatic proceedings to life, explains complex legal issues, and assesses the trialandrsquo;s implications for victims of the conflicts in the Balkans during the 1990s and international justice more broadly. Armatta acknowledges the trialandrsquo;s flaws, particularly Milosevicandrsquo;s grandstanding and attacks on the institutional legitimacy of the International Criminal Tribunal. Yet she argues that the trial provided an indispensable legal and historical narrative of events in the former Yugoslavia and a valuable forum where victims could tell their stories and seek justice. It addressed crucial legal issues, such as the responsibility of commanders for crimes committed by subordinates, and helped to create a framework for conceptualizing and organizing other large-scale international criminal tribunals. The prosecution of Slobodan Milosevic in The Hague was an important step toward ending impunity for leaders who perpetrate egregious crimes against humanity.
"Judith Armatta spent three incredible years with a front row seat in the trial that many hope will signal a beginning of the end to impunity. Through this book the reader is granted a rare privilege to share Judith's journey through the trial of Milosevic. As such, "Twilight of Impunity" serves as an indispensable cornerstone to the historical record of the Yugoslav conflict, and is a must read for anyone who seeks to understand how and why genocide returned to Europe."--Paul R. Williams, Rebecca I. Grazier Professor of Law and International Relations, American University Washington College of Law
This first in-depth treatment of Slobodan Milosevic's trial by an objective, first-hand observer recommends ways to prevent courtroom dominance by a defiant accused while preserving the right to a fair trial.
An eyewitness account and analysis of the trial of Slobodan Milosevic for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, written by a journalist and human-rights attorney.
About the Author
“[An] amazing book. . . . Armatta . . . has brought a boots-on-the-ground understanding of the Balkans from previous work in Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia. In her observations, she proves to be an acute student of law, character, strategy, and history. . . . [T]his is a wonderful and important book. Armatta has captured not only the sights and sounds of the court, but also of the Balkans itself, and the book emerges analyzing the biggest themes of international justice. It has enormous implications for the future. . . . Every practitioner and student of international relations should read Armatta’s book.” - Wesley Clark, Washington Monthly
"Will Armatta’s book, or others like it, get us any closer to achieving what is arguably the most valuable and probably the most realisable objective of these courts, which would be to lay out a record of evidence that could be used to justify earlier and more decisive political and military action in future conflicts with a similar potential for war crimes? We can hope so." - Geoffrey Nice, London Review of Books
“[Armatta’s] is the front-row view of a first-rate court reporter, giving the reader a TiVo-like version, culled of dead space and repetition, that is still exhausting in its arduous pace and detail. Diligently, she watched and recorded as the court probed all three charges from Kosovo, back through the Croatian and Bosnian wars, tediously piling up the evidence as Milosevic bobbed and weaved. One comes away half heartened by the effort to answer unspeakable cruelty and suffering with justice but, in a way, more saddened by Milosevic's slippery success in persuading his partisans and many of his countrymen that they, not he, were on trial, the victims of great power bullies.“ - Robert Legvold, Foreign Affairs
“As the only independent lawyer to have monitored and reported regularly from the Milosevic trial courtroom from its first day, Judith Armatta has produced an unparalleled, firsthand account of the first truly international war crimes trial of a national leader. She captures the courtroom atmosphere and personalities with a thoroughly engaging reportorial style, but brings her legal and regional expertise to bear in explaining and analyzing important testimony and judicial decisions. Twilight of Impunity is not only a singular history of the trial, but a compelling narrative of the major battles and convoluted diplomatic struggles of the Balkan wars. The book is filled with previously unreported insights arising from the testimony of major figures of the era, including Milosevic, former world leaders, NATO officials, victims, judges and prosecutors. A compelling and thorough source of unconventional wisdom on the trial and its impact, this book must be read by anyone hoping to understand the Balkans and the new era of international war crimes trials.”—Nina Bang-Jensen, former Executive Director/Counsel, Coalition for International Justice
“In Twilight of Impunity, Judith Armatta has done for the trial of Slobodan Milosevic, the Butcher of the Balkans, what Hannah Arendt did for the trial of Adolf Eichmann, the Architect of the Holocaust: present an unflinching depiction of the crimes, the anguish of the victims and witnesses, the arrogance of the killers, the virtues and flaws of the judicial process, and the banality of the evil that can arise when leaders assume they enjoy impunity.”—Chuck Sudetic, author of Blood and Vengeance: One Family’s Story of the War in Bosnia and co-author of Madame Prosecutor: Confrontations with Humanity’s Worst Criminals and the Culture of Impunity
“Judith Armatta spent three incredible years with a front row seat in the trial that many hope will signal a beginning of the end to impunity. Through this book the reader is granted a rare privilege to share Judith’s journey through the trial of Milosevic. As such, Twilight of Impunity serves as an indispensable cornerstone to the historical record of the Yugoslav conflict, and is a must read for anyone who seeks to understand how and why genocide returned to Europe.”—Paul R. Williams, Rebecca I. Grazier Professor of Law and International Relations, American University Washington College of Law
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