The Sentimental Court. The Affective Life of International Criminal Justice
Bens, Jonas – 2022
Modern law seems to be designed to keep emotions at bay. The Sentimental Court argues the exact opposite: that the law is not designed to cast out affective dynamics, but to create them. Drawing on extensive ethnographic fieldwork - both during the trial of former Lord's Resistance Army commander Dominic Ongwen at the International Criminal Court's headquarters in The Netherlands and in rural northern Uganda at the scenes of violence - this book is an in-depth investigation of the affective life of legalized transitional justice interventions in Africa. Jonas Bens argues that the law purposefully creates, mobilizes, shapes, and transforms atmospheres and sentiments, and further discusses how we should think about the future of law and justice in our colonial present by focusing on the politics of atmosphere and sentiment in which they are entangled.