Imagery of War Criminals
This paper examines visual presentation of three convicted war criminals (Plavsic, Lukic, Sljivancanin) in their memoirs and in the public (print, electronic and social media), asking about main motifs and visual structure of photography, but also following the circulation of imagery from the war period to the post-prison life. Departing from the narrative analysis of their ego-documents (Ristic, fothcoming 2017), the paper analyzes visual strategies to present perpetrators of mass atrocities, on the one hand, and the counter attempts to normalize and reassert the identity, on the other. Theoretically, the paper is situated within transitional justice approach (Hutchison, 2016; Osiel, 2009; Petrović, 2014; Winter, 2013), asking to what extend visuals of perpatrators (and their connection or disconnection to victims imagery) contributes to the process of dealing with the past.
The paper addresses two out of three “sites of image” as defined by Gilian Rose (Rose, 2001), namely the image itself and its circulation. Methodologically, the analysis of images builds on the multimodal analysis, as developed by Kress and Van Leeuwen (Kress and Leeuwen, 2010), asking what kind of processes (classification and/or analytical) are presented in the image, what kind of relation to the viewer is established (camera angle, gaze, type of shot), what type of modality could be identified (saturation, color, contrast etc), and the composition (salience, horizontal and vertical division, framing). In addition, it builds on the literature on image circulation (Borer, 2012; Moeller, 1999; Sontag, 2004; Zelizer, 2010) looking at different ways the meaning is ascribed, modified and changed in the usage of various images in different contexts.