Strategy of Rupture

Forensic Architecture

Jacques Vergès began his legal career during the Algerian war where he defended a series of militants opposing the French and Israeli states. He selected his cases on the grounds that they constitute precedent-setting legal challenges that expose paradoxes between the state’s democratic pretense and its colonial realities. His legal performance in court was an immanent critique that he called “the strategy of rupture” in which he used the public stage of the courts to question the legitimacy of the legal process itself; to turn the tribunal into a tribune to expose the crimes of states and historical injustice. This strategy meant that the anti-imperial spirit had to engage with the law rather than operate in a mode of rupture. The paradox of this form of legal activism is that wearing one’s militancy would render one ineffective. To be effective in lawfare you must never admit you practice it.

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