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Research Paper

Terrorists on Trial: A Performative Perspective

15 Mar 2011
Long read by Beatrice de Graaf

On 30 March 2011, ICCT organised an Expert Meeting entitled "Terrorism Trials as Theatre: A Performative Perspective". The Expert Meeting applied a performative perspective to three well known and recent trials in different parts of the world: the trials against the Dutch Hofstad Group, the Mumbai 2008 Terrorist Attack Trial and the Guantanamo Military Tribunals. As such, the Expert Meeting did not concentrate solely on the immediate judicial performance of the magistrates and/or the defence; instead, the trials were put in their wider sociological context, adopting notions of social drama and communication sciences. This Expert Meeting Paper is a further adaptation of the Discussion Paper that was used as basis for debate during the Meeting.

How to cite: Graaf, B. de "Terrorists on Trial: A Performative Perspective", The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism - The Hague 2, no. 4 (2011).


Terrorists on Trial: Lecture Series

This Paper is part of an ongoing research project regarding the performative effect of Terrorist Trials.  Over the past year ICCT has continued this project and analysed a series of terrorist trials.  Below you will find the meeting reports from this series. This winter ICCT will hold a fifth seminar relating to the Anders Behring Breivik trial, the verdict of which is due 24 August 2012.

25 January 2012 | Terrorists on Trial: The Case of the "20th Hijacker" This seminar focussed on Zacarias Moussaoui who is often refered to as the 20th hijacker and was convicted of conspiring to kill U.S. citizens as a part of the 9/11 attacks. The panel included  Judge Leonie Brinkema who presided over Moussaoui's trial. Read the full Meeting Report here.

13 December 2011 | Terrorists on Trial: The Case of Zarema Muzhakhtoyeva This was the second meeting in the series which featured Ms. Natalja Evlapova (Zarema Muzhakhtoyeva’s lawyer and a specialist on the Chechen question) who reflected upon the trial from the defence’s perspective. Read the full Meeting Report here.

23 November 2011 | Terrorists on Trial: The Lockerbie Case This first Seminar examined the Lockerbie case through it's performative and communicative aspects. Speakers included Judge Howard Morrison (Judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia), Mr. Paul McBride QC (Senior Counsel at Black Chambers) and Mr. Ian Ferguson an Investigative Journalist who has followed the case for over two decades. Read the full Meeting Report here.

30 March 2011 | Terrorism Trials as Theatre: A Performative Perspective This seminar looked at the Hoftstad Group trials in the Netherlands, the Mumbai 2008 Terrorist Attack Trial and the Guantanamo Military Tribunals. Read the full Meeting Report here.

Terrorists on Trial Blog

Prof. Dr. Beatrice de Graaf and a number of her colleagues will travel to Norway this week for the Anders Behring Breivik trial to conduct research and interviews related to the case. Stay up to date by following their progress on their Terrorists on Trial Blog.