Monthly Archives: February 2009

Opera Boxes, Salons, and Bedrooms, 1700s

From The Opera Companion, by George Martin (John Murray, 1961), pp. 133-134:

In Italy in the eighteenth century the center of operatic activity shifted from Venice to Naples, where a school of outstanding composers arose specializing in two styles: “opera seria” and “opera buffa.” “Opera seria” was on a grand scale with historical or mythological themes; it was a close cousin to the Viennese Baroque opera except that the music was of greater importance and the scenery of less. The aria, generally sung by a castrato, was the crux of every scene, and over the years it became extremely stylized, so that for any situation there was a certain type of aria that was appropriate. The singer was expected to embellish the aria with extemporaneous runs, trills and flourishes, and this—more than the drama, scenery or composed music—was what excited the audience. Thus the composer wrote a vehicle for a particular singer rather than searching his soul in nineteenth-century romantic style to produce an immortal masterpiece. Grout, in A Short History of Opera, reports that forty leading composers in the eighteenth century wrote fifty operas each: Verdi wrote twenty six, Wagner thirteen, and Puccini twelve. There was no repertory as today. The audience wanted new music each year, although it was perfectly willing to have the same librettos used over and over; for example, Mozart’s was the seventh setting of Metastasio’s La Clemenza di Tito. The scores of the operas were almost never published and, in any event, were extremely sketchy. Only the favorite arias might be published and, as there was no copyright, the composer was far less interested in preserving his old work for posterity than in receiving a commission for a new one, which he could complete in four to six weeks.

One result of this approach to opera, so different from today’s, was that no one really listened much; opera was still a social rather than a musical event. A Frenchman, De Brosses, writing in 1740 described what went on at Rome: “The ladies hold, as it were, at homes in their boxes, where those spectators who are of their acquaintance come to call on them. I have told you that everyone must rent a box. As they are playing at four theatres this winter, we have combined to hire four boxes, at a price of twenty sequins each for the four; and once there I can make myself perfectly at home. We quiz the house to pick out our acquaintance, and if we will, we exchange visits. The taste they have here for the play and for music is demonstrated far more by their presence than by the attention they pay. Once the first scenes are past, during which the silence is but relative, even in the pit, it becomes ill-bred to listen save in the most interesting passages. The principal boxes are handsomely furnished and lighted with chandeliers. Sometimes there is play, more often talk, seated in a complete circle as is their custom, and not as in France, where the ladies add to the show by placing themselves in a row in the front of each box; so you will see that in spite of the splendour of the house and the decoration of each box, the total effect is much less fine than with us.”

Besides visiting in the opera, the Romans also played cards and chess. In Milan the diversion was faro. Florence offered hot suppers served in the boxes. At Turin each box had a room off it with a fireplace and all the conveniences for refreshments and cards. At Venice the boxes could be closed off from the theater by a shutter.

All travelers reported that the gabble and noise were deafening except during two or three favorite arias which, greeted with wild applause, were repeated. One visitor, Lalande, estimated that the typical Milanese spent a quarter of his life at the opera. It is not surprising then that the archduke’s box in Milan had attached to it not only a private sitting room but also a bedroom.

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Wordcatcher Tales: Kanson Minpi

Kyushu-based blogger Ampontan, who reads a broader range of Japanese media much more carefully than do the habitués of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo, cites a useful Sino-Japanese four-character idiom (yojijukugo) in his lengthy analysis of former Prime Minister Koizumi’s exasperated lambasting of the backsliding by his successors on key aspects of his popular reform agenda.

The New Nelson translates glosses 官尊民卑 kanson minpi as ‘overemphasis on government at the expense of the people’, a phrase that applies all too well to the rest of the world, too.

kan (= tsukasa) means ‘government; officials’, as in 官僚 kanryou ‘bureaucracy, officialdom’ and 官話 kanwa ‘Mandarin language, officialese’.

son (= tattoi, toutoi) means ‘respect, honor’, as in 尊敬 sonkei ‘respect, reverence’ and 尊厳死 songenshi ‘death with dignity’.

min (= tami) means ‘people’, as in 民衆主義 minshushugi ‘democracy’ and 民間活力 minkankatsuryoku ‘private sector vitality’.

hi (= iyashii) means ‘humble, base, vulgar’, as in 卑見 hiken ‘my humble opinion (MHO)’ and 卑金属 hikinzoku ‘base metal’.

So a literal rendition of the compound might be ‘officials [get] respect, citizens [get] disdain’ or in Doc Rock‘s smoother formulation: ‘respecting officials [while] disrespecting citizens’.

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Wordcatcher Tales: Fukko vs. Ishin

Careful readers of my last two blogposts from a book chapter, “Cultural Change in Nineteenth-Century Japan,” by the late Marius B. Jansen, will have noticed a theme that runs through both excerpts: that Japan’s ardent reformers were inspired as much by the need to return to an imagined past as by the need to adapt to the intrusions of the modern world. The section excerpted below focuses on two terms that highlight the nuances of these dual motivations. The book in which it appears is Challenging Past and Present: The Metamorphosis of Nineteenth-Century Japanese Art, ed. by Ellen P. Conant (U. Hawai‘i Press, 2006), pp. 32-35:

Some years ago Sakata Yoshio divided the Meiji Restoration epoch into periods characterized by themes of fukko [復古] or ishin [維新], “revival” or “renewal.” In modern parlance the terms are quite different in their connotations. Revival suggests nostalgia and conservatism. The 1974 Kenkyusha dictionary, for instance, gives the following examples: “ōsei fukko—the restoration of the monarchy; fukko ronsha—a reactionary.” By justifying sweeping change in the name of the past, Meiji statecraft might seem, to present-day commentators, to have injected a problematic retrogressiveness into values and culture.

In the Chinese Confucian context from which these terms derived, however, the idea of revival was entirely positive. F. W. Mote has asserted that in Chinese tradition, because neither individual nor state could claim any theoretical authority higher than men’s rational minds, there being no external creator or lawgiver, ultimate authority rested with historical experience….

In Meiji thinking, ishin and fukko could be linked. Tetsuo Najita points out that “I [維 ‘tie’] means to pull together the disparate strands in society, to regroup, as it were, and the second part of the compound, shin [新 ‘new’], means starting out in a totally new direction.” The appeal of return to an imagined moral past made it possible to utilize both “restoration” and “innovation” in government pronouncements. The official chronicle Fukkoki emphasized the theme of return, but contemporary assurances that everything would be changed (hyakuji goishin) had connotations of a “world renewal” (yonaoshi) of the sort that late Tokugawa insurrections had announced. In the event, however, the new government lost little time in suppressing advocates of such radical ideas.

Late Tokugawa nativism modified and added to the notion of the perfect past to which Japan might return. The kokugaku (National Studies) scholars argued the virtues of Japan before it had become tainted by imported values, words, and books. Their version of fukko gave rise to impressive efforts in historical philology…. Another respect in which the Japanese tradition provided helpful arguments for advocates of cultural and institutional change was to be found in tradition and historical memory that validated the practice of cultural borrowing without prescribing the category or the character of what was to be borrowed….

A final element conducive to cultural borrowing was the nature of Japanese cultural nationalism. Acutely aware of other civilizations, especially the Chinese colossus to the west, Japanese thought in comparative and competitive terms. The country and its deities were divine, and the question was how to serve them best….

In sum, revivalism differed in Japan from its counterpart in China, partly because of the shadowy nature of the Japanese past that the nativists exhumed, and partly because of the historical precedents for change and for borrowing. To paraphrase Maraini’s argument and apply it here, Europe might be constrained by absolutes of theology, and China by its commitment to a transmitted body of ancient learning that was relatively constant, but in Japan fukko permitted the greatest flexibility in appropriating or devising stratagems for protection of the cultural polity. It could blend with change and even slide into renewal.

Terms like “Meiji culture” and “Tokugawa tradition” suggest rapid change in a previously stable setting, but it is important to remember that late Tokugawa culture was profoundly eclectic and that the Meiji changes represented acceleration of many trends that were already in progress. What was new was the explicit acknowledgment and the clear assessment of problems and the unity of determination to remedy them.

Nowadays, 明治維新 (Meiji Ishin) is the usual Japanese term for what English speakers often call the “Meiji Restoration.” I was not familiar with the alternate term 復古 (fukko) (‘return-past’) but it seems to be a better translation for ‘restoration’. The core meaning of 復 fuku seems to be ‘return, revert’, as in the everyday term 往復 ōfuku (lit. ‘go-return’) ’round trip’ or in 復活 fukkatsu (lit. ‘return-life’) ‘rebirth, revival, resurrection’ (as in 復活祭 fukkatsusai [lit. ‘return-life-festival’] ‘Easter’).

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Changing Court Costumes under Meiji

From “Cultural Change in Nineteenth-Century Japan,” by Marius B. Jansen, in Challenging Past and Present: The Metamorphosis of Nineteenth-Century Japanese Art, ed. by Ellen P. Conant (U. Hawai‘i Press, 2006), pp. 40-41:

The need for practicality and efficiency affected cultural policy in many ways. The early Meiji years saw the court trying to do business in the garments of antiquity. Albert Craig writes that “when the government structure was first promulgated, officials rushed out to secondhand bookstores to buy copies of the commentaries on the Taiho code (702) so they would know what the new office titles meant.” Many adopted Heian-period names, and “[e]ven the clothing worn by the councilors at certain court ceremonies was dictated by the new ethos. High-ranking samurai officials were required to dress as nobles; and all, including nobles, were required to wear swords. On one occasion the Saga samurai Eto Shinpei, late for a ceremony, dashed into the court uncapped by an eboshi—a small, black, silly-looking hat that perches forward on the head. A noble asked him, ‘Where is your hat?’ Eto retorted, ‘Where are your swords?’ Both hastened out for the proper accouterments.”

But the work of modernization could not be carried out at a costume party. In 1870 the Daigaku Nanko, ancestor of the Imperial University of Tokyo, still ruled out Western clothing, but that same year the imperial court appointed a Western-clothing specialist to its staff. By 1874 Kido Takayoshi, hero of the Restoration and powerfully influential government minister, was agonizing in his diary over the pain caused by “my shoes.” A year later Mori Arinori (1848-1888), natty in a Western suit, was bantering with the Qing statesman Li Hungzhang. Did he not find it unpleasant to wear such foreign clothes? Li asked solicitously. Had not Mori’s ancestors preferred Chinese costume? Yes, answered Mori, but he was doing as his ancestors had done by choosing the better garb. And, he went on, had Li’s ancestors worn Manchu robes like those his host had on? No, was the reluctant answer, they had not.

Before long the Meiji emperor’s Western military uniform was made court dress, and things moved so rapidly that at a birthday ball in 1885, itself remarkable, only two of the ladies did not appear in Western dress. Westerners usually thought this regrettable. In 1887 Herr von Mohl, a specialist in Western protocol hired for the court, suggested going back to Japanese dress for formal occasions but found that “Count Ito let me know that in Japan the costume question was a political issue in which the imperial household advisors had no voice; he requested that the matter should be viewed as settled and not to waste further time in discussing what is, in fact, a fait accompli.”

By the time the Meiji constitution was promulgated in 1889, Tokyo newspapers reported that Western-style tailors were being swamped with business by prefectural officials who had come crowding into the capital. Eboshi had given way to top hats, which alternated with bowlers in the uneasy combination of dress and footwear that is recorded in many Meiji photographs.

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Modernizing Music under Meiji

From “Cultural Change in Nineteenth-Century Japan,” by Marius B. Jansen, in Challenging Past and Present: The Metamorphosis of Nineteenth-Century Japanese Art, ed. by Ellen P. Conant (U. Hawai‘i Press, 2006), pp. 44-45:

Gagaku gained increased prominence, but at the cost of stultification. By the end of the Tokugawa period it was associated primarily with the imperial court; professionals performed at court and the larger Shinto shrines. In 1871 a Gagaku Bureau was established within the Imperial Household Office (later Imperial Household Ministry), and thereafter its representatives served on all commissions charged with musical policy. Gagaku practice became archaized and codified in the process of defining as a “tradition” what must at one time have been considerably more varied. Nagauta, which had deep roots in popular culture, flourished. It gradually became more independent from the kabuki theater, developing a concert format and spread into commoner homes as an amateur skill. Instrumental music was freed from special restrictions. Koto had been a special art reserved for blind performers, while shakuhachi had been associated with Fuke Buddhism, which was banned in 1871. Both skills became middle-class accomplishments. Satsuma and Choshu biwa music, previously considered provincial, now acquired a popularity corollary to the political dominance of those southwestern domains in the new regime. Small wonder that former Tokugawa retainers often sneered at their Meiji successors as imo (potato) zamurai.

Western music had made its entry in Bakumatsu times, sometimes under unlikely circumstances. The captain’s clerk aboard Commodore Perry’s Saratoga wrote that Japanese guests who were treated to a band concert in 1854 courteously asked to hear the first number again, but proved to mean the tuning-up period, whose sounds they found more interesting than the marches that followed. Satsuma samurai were sufficiently impressed by the martial strains that came to shore from the British band celebrating the bombardment that had just burned Kagoshima in 1863 to want to introduce Western military music into their own forces. An English bandmaster of the marine battalion guarding the Yokohama legation was asked to instruct thirty Satsuma militiamen, and in 1871 these formed the core of the new navy band, its English bandmaster’s salary shared by the navy and the Gagaku Bureau. In 1877 the Englishman Fenton was replaced by a German, Franz Eckert. The harmonization and orchestration of “Kimi ga yo,” which came to function as the new national anthem, was the product of the combined efforts of these bandmasters.

Military songs and marches quickly became popular. “Oh My Prince!” (Miyasan! Miyasan!) was ascribed to the armies that marched against the shogun’s capital. Words could be changed to fit new themes and occasions. “Battōtai” (The Drawn Sword Unit), composed in 1885 by a French instructor about the Satsuma Rebellion, became “The Sinking of the Normanton” in 1887 for the disaster off Kii in which all the Japanese, and no foreigners, were lost, and emerged again as the “Rappa-bushi” of the Russo-Japanese War. Still other songs adapted the melodies of Stephen Collins Foster to a Japanese mode, as with “Tobe Tobe Tonbi Sora” (Fly, Kite, Fly, High in the Sky!), whose tune turns out to be a version of “Way Down upon the Sewanee River.”

Appropriately enough, some of the last strains of late-Edo chant and song were suppressed with the people’s rights movement, which adapted them to political uses. Dainamaito bushi, satirical pieces designed to be explosive, were composed, sung, and sold by street-singer activists deploring official arrogance and government tyranny in the 1880s. The victories of the state in domestic politics and foreign wars, however, speeded the production of a new and less divisive national culture, homogenized by mass education and literacy, which emerged by the end of the century.

The Ministry of Stultification (or Zombification) would certainly be an appropriate name for the Imperial Household Ministry, even today.

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Notes from the Kentucky Ice Storm of 2009

I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, where my father was in seminary, but I only spent two years of my life there: my first year (before going to Japan with my missionary parents in 1950) and my first-grade year (during our first furlough in 1955–56). But other connections to my old Kentucky home endure. My mother and two youngest brothers went to Berea College; both brothers obtained graduate degrees in the University of Kentucky system (one in library science, the other in accounting); and two brothers have settled in Kentucky, one as a history professor at Centre College in Danville (“City of Firsts”), and the other as a librarian at what used to be Paducah Community College and is now the cumbersomely named West Kentucky Community and Technical College.

Now, two weeks after the storm first hit, my brother who lives in a suburb of Paducah (Reidland, on the way to Possum Trot) is still without power. Unlike many of his neighbors, he lacks a generator, so he’s been buying ice to keep a few essentials cold in the freezer. His saving grace is a gas water heater and a gas fireplace, which at least make it easier to wash up, stay warm, and heat up simple meals.

We first heard about his power outage when my father called his landline, connected to an older phone powered by the phone line itself. Then we got an email from him a few days later, when he ventured out to get some supplies, recharge cell phones, and send email from the public library in downtown Paducah, which had power. The laundromats in town were jam-packed, so they took their laundry to his father-in-law’s house just across the Tennessee line. (The owner of the house was gloating from Florida!)

When classes resumed at WKCTC last week, at least half the students and staff still lacked power at home, so the school made special efforts to provide them a place to stay warm, cook food, clean up, and prepare for classes. The National Guard and FEMA have showed up, but power is still out over much of McCracken County.

My brother’s home in Danville got its power back this week, after he pleaded special needs to Kentucky Utilities, which had placed private homes last on its priority list. (My brother has several serious physical limitations.) Actually, his power came back on early last week, just long enough for him to restock his refrigerator with a fresh batch of food to spoil when the power went back off again the next day. KU was restoring power first along public thoroughfares. They charged $400 to restore power to private homes. He could have paid one of the private contractors who were soliciting business in the neighborhood, but they would still have had to get approval from KU.

Fortunately Centre College had power, and many professors were camping out in their offices, some with their families as well. It was hard to get much work done, either at school or at home. When my brother went out to find breakfast after the power in his neighborhood first went out, he found a huge crowd gathered at the local Cracker Barrel, happy to wait in line in a warm place and catch up on how their friends and neighbors were doing. At one point, my brother went to see a movie in the local theater, as much to relax in a warm place as to see the movie itself (Gran Torino).

The weather has started to warm up now, and anybody with a chainsaw and pickup truck can make a little extra cash helping people remove debris from their yards.

UPDATE: Here are a few more notes about how the ice storm affected Berea, from a former missionary kid who works there.

And now, the news from Berea! The freezing rain had been falling since Monday [January 26], and I had to duck low-hanging branches as I walked to work. Although the science building roof had been repaired last summer, it’s been leaking this fall and winter, especially with the wet December….

Shortly after that, one of the Public Safety officers passed my door … in search of ice for someone injured by a falling branch outside our building. I found a Cold Pack in the freezer for her, and Josh took her to the hospital to be checked out. She had come with her daughter, and perhaps some other prospective students, from southern Ohio, and was concerned about the return home, as she was the only driver….

When I got home [about lunchtime] I discovered the power had just gone out. When I called campus to see who else might be affected, Mike Morris told me the whole town was “powerless.” It seems a major Kentucky Utilities feeder line, from which Berea Utilities obtains its electricity, had gone down. They closed campus at 2:00. They eventually decided to deem Short Term completed (today was the last scheduled day of classes) and send the students home, urging them to take home a friend who might not be able to get home. (A number of international students were on campus for the month.) Staff were also dismissed until Monday.

We were inside when we heard a tremendous CRASH, and went outside to discover that a large tree in [our landlord’s son’s house] …. had been felled by another tree, on College property, and crashed into their house. It took out their playhouse in the back yard, which is probably what spared their Doberman, and took the corner off the nursery upstairs. Thankfully they were all downstairs around the gas fireplace, but we learned today that they’ll be out of their house for a couple of months.

Later, after cold sandwiches for both lunch and supper (I’d gotten a ham recently), we decided to go see what might be open. We’d heard that the area across the interstate from Wal-Mart, as well as the far north end of town, still had power, as they were on the Bluegrass Co-Op system. We found gas at $1.79 and filled the truck (the car has starter/battery/electrical issues with which we hadn’t yet dealt, due to the cold weather), and also bought hot coffee!!! Then we found the new Walgreen’s, not far from the house, had just opened after having gotten a generator from Cincinnati. We got a battery operated radio, batteries for it and our flashlights, which were getting dim, and some candles.

When we pulled into the driveway our neighbor across Churchill Drive told us we’d lost part of our backyard maple tree. It was way across the road, so we called 9-1-1. A city crew came out before too long and removed the portion outside our yard, but we still have a huge section, probably about 14″ in diameter, inside the yard, to be dealt with at a later date. We hunkered down in the study, with the doors to the living room, basement, and sewing room closed, and weren’t uncomfortable. We “cocooned” for the night, complete with toboggans, and slept well, getting up only around 10:30 or 11:00 – even after two phone calls from campus – with the goal of finding some hot food.

That we found at Huddle House – also across the interstate at the northern exit – along with a horde of other locals with the same intent. We’d been given the idea by [the] cousin of our landlord, who lives across the street with his 90+ -year-old mother. They ended up at the booth next to us. I’d taken Baachan’s [= granny’s] air pot to get coffee, and our nice waitress emptied her pot every time she made the rounds for refills. :)

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Practical Problems of Genocide Tribunals

From After the Killing Fields: Lessons from the Cambodian Genocide, by Craig Etcheson (Texas Tech U. Press, 2006), pp. 183-187 (footnote references omitted):

When one examines the details of how tribunals are structured, it becomes clear that no solution can yield a completely satisfactory outcome on all the competing values at stake. We see, for example, a range of approaches to the question of personal jurisdiction, that is, who should be prosecuted in a genocide tribunal. Though the approaches vary widely, each of them has both advantages and disadvantages with respect to the question of impunity. Cambodia’s 1979 People’s Revolutionary Tribunal prosecuted only two people, leaving many other culpable senior leaders untouched, along with the thousands of people who carried out the actual killing. The ICTR has indicted and/or prosecuted more than seventy people, but this is totally unsatisfactory to many Rwandans, who find tens of thousands of genocide perpetrators living among them. The ICTY has indicted some 150 individuals, creating a large and time-consuming caseload but still leaving many perpetrators harmless in the former Yugoslavia. The Ethiopian courts are prosecuting more than 5,000 suspects, though that process has been criticized for violating the rights of the accused, and in any case it still leaves low-level perpetrators beyond the reach of the law. In Rwanda, more than 100,000 persons suspected of involvement in the genocide have languished in detention for years with no prospect that they will ever receive fair trials in a court of law, solely due to the fact that the sheer numbers of accused overwhelm the capacity of the Rwandan justice system. As a practical matter, then, there may be no ideal solution to the problem of personal jurisdiction for the crime of genocide….

Another challenge in achieving justice for the Cambodian genocide has to do with the question of temporal jurisdiction, or the span of time during which applicable crimes may be prosecuted. The proposed Khmer Rouge tribunal would limit its temporal jurisdiction to the period between April 17, 1975, and January 7, 1979. Thus, only criminal acts that were committed in that time frame could be prosecuted by the Khmer Rouge tribunal. This makes sense, insofar as that was the period during which the Khmer Rouge controlled Cambodia ‘s capital and also the period of the most intense killing by the Khmer Rouge, but it is also true that the Khmer Rouge executed and otherwise abused many innocent people prior to April 17, 1975, and they also continued to carry out atrocities long after they were driven from power on January 7, 1979. By limiting temporal jurisdiction to this period, people who were victimized by the Khmer Rouge at any time outside of that tightly constricted time frame might feel as if they have been denied justice for the crimes committed against them and therefore that impunity continues to reign….

A similar set of questions could be raised with respect to the subject matter jurisdiction, or what crimes will be prosecuted. For example, a growing body of evidence suggests that rape was common at the lower levels of the Khmer Rouge security organization, particularly the rape of female prisoners who were slated for execution. Recent precedents established by the ad hoc international criminal tribunals mean that when rape is assessed as having been systematic or widespread, this could constitute a war crime or a crime against humanity. Rape in war is always a war crime, but what is new under these recent precedents, where widespread or systematic, is that it can now trigger the doctrine of “command responsibility,” putting senior leaders at risk for the crimes of their subordinates. In the Cambodian case, however, the available evidence suggests that whenever the top leadership of the Khmer Rouge uncovered such “moral” infractions by their cadre, those accused of such acts faced summary execution. Consequently, the top Khmer Rouge leaders can argue that they did everything possible to suppress such crimes, and therefore they cannot be held responsible. If, due to the limited definition of personal jurisdiction, only top leaders are prosecuted, but they are absolved of responsibility for rapes, then any woman who was raped by a lower-level Khmer Rouge cadre or soldier may feel that she has not received justice and that impunity continues. Again, it would seem that there is no universally satisfactory way to address the problem of impunity for crimes on the scale of those carried out under the Khmer Rouge.

Another set of questions has to do with the extent of international involvement in a tribunal. The ICTY, the ICTR, and the ICC are in the nature of international experiments in combating impunity. As such, these judicial institutions have been fraught with start-up difficulties. They are also enormously expensive undertakings—which is one reason that several members of the UN Security Council were reluctant to see a similar model implemented in the case of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge. A major advantage of the ad hoc international tribunals is that they tend to provide the highest legal standards of international justice, but in so doing, they also require a great deal of time and money in order to render justice to only a small minority of the perpetrators. Moreover, with the ICTY seated in the Netherlands, and the ICTR in Arusha, Tanzania—both at some distance from the territories where the crimes were actually committed—the surviving victims who have the greatest right and need to see justice done in most cases are simply too far from the court to see any justice being done at all. On the other hand, in the Rwandan domestic prosecutions, in a country where the legal profession and the courts were totally destroyed during the genocide, the relative lack of international involvement can be seen as a factor contributing to the procedural shortcomings of the process and the long delays in rendering justice for the victims and the accused alike. The same might be said of the Ethiopian prosecutions.

Thus, there seems to be no optimum level of international involvement in tribunals designed to combat impunity. If the tribunal is entirely internationalized and seated outside the territory where the crimes were committed, there is a danger that those most in need of seeing justice done will not perceive any effective impact on impunity. Those few perpetrators who find themselves before the court will be prosecuted under alien laws and in an unfamiliar language, all far away from the scene of the crime. On the other hand, when tribunals are conducted strictly as a national affair in the immediate aftermath of terrible devastation, local judicial and political conditions may not be strong enough to deliver fair and impartial justice, as we saw with the People’s Revolutionary Tribunal in 1979. However, it may turn out that the proposed mixed model for Cambodia—with internationals on the court and with the proceedings conducted where the crimes occurred—could be a good compromise to balance these competing values.

On balance, then, when we look under the hood of international tribunals at their internal workings, it is clear that there is no ideal, one-size-fits-all solution. When weighed against the enormity of the crimes at issue, questions of personal, temporal, and subject matter jurisdiction, along with the degree of international involvement, generally tip the scales of justice toward an unsatisfying outcome.

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