Victims and the Labour of Justice at the International Criminal Court: The Blame Cascade

Event date
21 May 2024
Event time
15:00 - 16:30
Oxford week
TT 5
Members of the University
Faculty of Law - White & Case Room

Notes & Changes

Dr. Leila Ullrich will present her new book, which offers the first critical ideology study of the ICC's victims' rights regime. Her work makes visible the labour of justice through a Marxist-Feminist lens and explores how that labour is racialized and gendered. Please find the abstract below:


Victim participation at the ICC has routinely been viewed as an empty promise of justice or mere spectacle for audiences in the Global North, providing little benefit for victims. Why, then, do people in Kenya and Uganda engage in justice processes that offer so little, so late? How and why do they become the court's victims and intermediaries, and what impact do these labels have on them?

Victims and the Labour of Justice at the International Criminal Court offers a response to these poignant questions, demonstrating that the notion of 'justice for victims' is not merely symbolic, expressive, or instrumental. On the contrary — the book argues — the ICC's methods of victim engagement are productive, reproducing the Court as a relevant institution and transforming victims in the Global South into highly gendered and racialized labouring subjects. Challenging the Court's interplay with global capitalist relationships, the book makes visible the hidden labour of justice, and how it lures, disciplines, and blames both victims and victims' advocates.

Drawing on critical theory, criminological analysis, and multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork in The Hague, Kenya, and Uganda, Victims and the Labour of Justice at the International Criminal Court illuminates how the drive to include victims as participants in international criminal justice proceedings also creates and disciplines them as blameworthy capitalist subjects. Yet, as victim workers learn to 'stop crying', 'be peaceful', 'get married', 'work hard', and 'repay debt', they also begin to challenge the terms of global justice.

Tea, coffee and cookies will be provided.

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