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The conference suggests approaching trials of war crimes and of crimes against humanity, which took place in the aftermath of WWII and its following decades, as specific social events. By including professional and social actors (magistrates and police force, whistle-blowers, witnesses, defendants...) who got involved and shaped audiences of such trials, the conference endeavours to question the notion of publicization. It will cross this perspective with a study of the part played by the media supports in the organization and in the public reception of these trials. Moreover, the conference will offer a comparative approach by investigating the trials taking place both in Eastern and Western Europe. Such an approach will enable to deal simultaneously with the political dimension of public trials and with the forms of mobilization of professional and social actors in the context of the Cold War. The conference will be built around three research topics. Which professional, institutional and individual actors got involved as these trials unfolded within the different historical and national contexts, and what was the extent of their autonomy? How were such trials of crimes against humanity employed in order to consolidate the internal legitimacy of the various regimes, to unfold political pedagogy and stir popular participation within the societal project carried on ? How did the arts and the press media shape the reception of these trials?

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