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Constructing achievement in the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY): A corpus-based critical discourse analysis

Potts, Amanda ORCID: and Kjær, Anne Lise 2016. Constructing achievement in the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY): A corpus-based critical discourse analysis. International Journal for the Semiotics of Law 29 (3) , pp. 525-555. 10.1007/s11196-015-9440-y

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The International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) was established by the UN Security Council in 1993 to prosecute persons responsible for war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia during the Balkan wars. As the first international war crimes tribunal since the Nuremburg and Tokyo tribunals set up after WWII, the ICTY has attracted immense interest among legal scholars since its inception, but has failed to garner the same level of attention from researchers in other disciplines, notably linguistics. This represents a significant research gap, as the Tribunal’s public discourse (notably its case law and Annual Reports) can open up interesting avenues of analysis to researchers of law, language, and legal discourse alike. On its official website, the Tribunal claims that it has “irreversibly changed the landscape of international humanitarian law” and lists six specific achievements: “Holding leaders accountable; bringing justice to victims; giving victims a voice; establishing the facts; developing international law and strengthening the rule of the law”. While a number of legal scholars have studied and critiqued the level of ‘achievement’ actually attained by the Tribunal against these metrics and others, of interest to linguists is the ways in which this work might be conveyed discursively. In this paper, we demonstrate how methods from the linguistic field of corpus-based critical discourse analysis can be utilised to explore the discursive construction of such achievements in the language of the ICTY.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Additional Information: Copyright The Author(s) 2015. This article is published with open access at This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher: Springer Verlag
ISSN: 0952-8059
Funders: ESRC Radical Futures; ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science [grant number ES/K002155/1]; the Danish National Research Foundation�s Center of Excellence for International Courts, iCourts
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 22:52

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