Prof. Drumbl on Twilight of Impunity

Mark DrumblProfessor Mark A. Drumbl, the Class of 1975 Alumni Professor of Law and Director of the Transnational Law Institute, recently had his review of Judith Armatta’s book, Twilight of Impunity: The War Crimes Trial of Slobodan Milosevic published in the Law & Politics Book Review, 21 Law & Pol. Book Rev. 177 (2011).

The book, Twilight of Impunity, chronicles the prosecution of Slobodan Milosevic at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Milosevic was elected President of Serbia in 1989, President of the Republic of Serbia in 1990, and then President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1997. In 2001, he was arrested. At the ICTY, Milosevic faced 66 charges involving genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes arising from nearly a decade of bloodbath in Kosova, Croatia, and Bosnia.

Milosevic’s trial ended on March 11, 2006. The process came to a close without conviction or sentence. Law did not draw the final curtain. The trial’s end came by way of death – Milosevic’s own – in his jail cell after four years’ of proceedings. In this regard, Milosevic cheated the very verdict his concerted dilatory antics had sought to postpone indefinitely.

Judith Armatta, a human rights lawyer and journalist, spent many days over nearly three years attending at Milosevic’s trial in The Hague. Twilight of Impunity emerges as the ensuing work product. Although she modestly claims that Twilight of Impunity is “not the definitive trial record,” Professor Drumbl claims that it serves as the definitive book about the trial.

Prof. Drumbl states that fundamentally, her book about the trial – from front cover imagery through to text – is much more about him than it is about the tens of thousands of victims. She favors subject over composition. Hence, the trial story becomes his story. Some exception arise, he says, such as Armatta’s beautiful treatment of the pugnacity of witness K-31 in cross-examination by Milosevic. Still, the book remains about getting Milosevic and the herculean efforts international lawyers undertook to get him.

Professor Drumbl regards the book with praise, saying that “Armatta’s encyclopedic compendium is impeccably researched, meticulous, detailed, prudent, and careful. It distinguishes itself as a must-read.”

The full review may be found here.

Congratulations to Professor Drumbl.

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