MADLYN SAUER ° The NSU-Tribunals: Without law, but with justice

When in May 2017 the action alliance ‘Unraveling the NSU-Complex‘ held their first self-organized Tribunal at the Schauspiel Cologne parallel to the official court trial in Munich, the confusions were quite big: Is it actually theater, a congress or a tribunal? And if it is a ‘real‘ tribunal, why it had so little in common with legalistic peoples’ tribunals like the renowned Russell tribunals or the trials of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal?
According to Madlyn Sauer, the NSU tribunals can be less understood with the legalistic idea of retributive justice, because they do not dispense justice in the name of law. Instead they do justice as social practice of recognition, remembrance and community building. In her lecture Madlyn Sauer retraces these aspects on the first NSU Tribunal in Cologne.

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Madlyn Sauer is researching the worldwide convening of non-governmental Peoples’ Tribunals as an independent, diverse and heterogeneous justice practice in her PhD at the University of Zurich, in the Department of Cultural Analysis. Her research focus lies on civil society tribunals, that move beyond a legalistic framework and combine in different ways in their procedures and practices the three big justice ideas of restoration, retribution and transformation. Previously, she studied stage and costume design and applied theater studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Dresden. In addition to her doctorate, she is a freelance writer and artist. Her practice focuses on justice practices, anti-racism and decolonization. She lives and works in Berlin and Zurich. In December 2022 her first monography Wir klagen an! (We indict!) on the NSU-Tribunals will be published at Unrast Verlag.