Leyla Belle Drake


Leyla Belle Drake, doctoral student
in the History of Ideas

My project concerns cultural formations, theories of history and professional self-perception in Swedish war crimes trials. The purpose is to examine the historical roots and contemporary outcomes of a legal framework and a praxis that assume the vulnerability of a certain class of people, and the obligation of another to protect them.

During the last few years Swedish authorities have developed a considerable apparatus geared toward investigating and prosecuting alleged war crimes perpetrated elsewhere in the world. This apparatus includes new legislation as well as an emerging judicial praxis, based in part upon the conception of particularly vulnerable victims and uniquely savage crimes. I will explore the effect of these conceptions on investigative methods and judiciary rhetoric, as well as the ideas and narratives that are produced in these trials. In addition, I am interested in the role of human rights NGOs in Swedish war crimes trials, as NGO reports are known to have been used by investigators and prosecutors, as well as cited in verdicts.

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