Roehampton Professor’s drama, General Mladic Is Waving airs on BBC Radio 4

  • Thursday, December 7, 2017

Professor Graham White's new play set at the Hague Tribunal around the trial of Ratko Mladic has been featured on BBC Radio 4. 

The topical drama was broadcast in the aftermath of the conviction of General Ratko Mladic at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Ratko Mladic was found guilty of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide and was sentenced to life in prison. Mladic, who became known as the ‘Butcher of Bosnia’, waged a brutal campaign during the Bosnian war and directed his troops in the worst atrocities in post-war Europe.

General Mladic Is Waving gives a fascinating glimpse into the procedures of the ICTY during its final trial, derived from the first hand experiences of Professor White and from verbatim tribunal transcripts.

Interweaving extracts from transcripts with a fictional narrative, the play explores the experience and significance of the Tribunal in the context of a ‘post-truth’ world, where a lack of interest in evidence, or a loss of trust in the fundamental norms around accountability, might appear to challenge its mission. Speaking of the play, White says;

‘It deals with the often strange experience of the Tribunal itself and with the sort of confused impressions such an exercise can leave when it’s viewed from the public gallery. The civility and the good order of the courtroom can suddenly shift and the ghosts of the conflict become powerfully real again in the exchange between counsel and witness, in the microscopic focus on how a person died, or in the conspiracies and challenges thrown up in the versions of history given by defendants and prosecutors’. 

Professor White’s research often uses writing practices as a way of exploring memory, identity and the presentation of self, especially in processes of public reconciliation. Previous plays for Radio 4 have included Oswald in Russia and The Trial of the Angry Brigade, and dramatisations of Primo Levi’s The Periodic Table and Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy.

General Mladic Is Waving can be heard on the BBC iPlayer here