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AJIL Unbound

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Memorials and monuments are envisioned as positive ways to honor victims of atrocity. Such displays are taken as intrinsically benign, respectful, and in accord with the arc of justice. Is this correlation axiomatic, however? Art, after all, may be a vehicle for multiple normativities, contested experiences, and variable veracities. Hence, in order to really speak about the relationships between the aesthetic and international criminal law, one must consider the full range of initiatives—whether pop-up ventures, alleyway graffiti, impromptu ceremonies, street art, and grassroots public histories—prompted by international criminal trials. Courts may be able to stage their own outreach, to be sure, but they cannot micromanage the outreach of others. And the outreach of others may look and sound strikingly different than that curated and manicured by courts. This essay presents one such othered outreach initiative: a memorial in Tokyo dedicated to Justice Radhabinod Pal of India, who authored a vehement dissent at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE). The IMTFE was established in 1946 to prosecute Japan’s leadership in the aftermath of the Second World War. Pal would have acquitted each defendant. This essay describes Justice Pal’s legal philosophy, situates his place in the currents of international law, and reflects on the broader role of memorials as discursive sites.



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