Devil’s Advocates


Defence attorney Jacques Verges (left) with Klaus Barbie (right) at his trial for war crimes in France, 1987. 

Devils Advocates
A two-day roundtable seminar at the Centre for Research Architecture
1-2 March 2013


Current conflicts over territory and resources bring to the fore the importance of spatial and material evidence to the resolution of legal and political disputes. The roundtable seminar titled ‘Devil’s Advocates’ at the Centre for Research Architecture sets out to interrogate such presentation of evidence in diverse and often contradictory political and legal forums. Its goal is to think the articulation of expert evidence and documentation with legal advocacy, towards a pragmatics of intervention through law, while at the same time questioning the limits of law itself as a political tool. Focusing on recent constitutional debates in South America and on the territorial conflict between Israel and Palestine, this two-day seminar will enquire into the multiple interceptions of law and territory, from both pragmatic and transformative political perspectives.

Seminar conceived and organised by Godofredo Pereira, with the Centre for Research Architecture/Forensic Architecture.




Day 1:  Territorial Constitutionalism 

10:30 – 1:30 pm
Oscar Guardiola-Rivera (Assistant Dean of Law, Birkbeck)
Godofredo Pereira (PhD candidate, CRA)

Lunch 1:30 – 2:30 pm

2:30 – 5:30 pm
Emilios Christodoulidis (Professor of Legal Theory, Glasgow)
Respondent: Joanne Mariner (Senior Crisis Response Advisor at Amnesty International)

Readings (see sidebar links):
Oscar Guardiola-Rivera. “To Write for One’s Time: From Rights, Laws, and Revolutions to the Persistence of Politics. The Americas, 1970-2011.”
Oscar Guardiola-Rivera. “Return of the Fetish: A Plea for a New Materialism.” Law Critique (2007) 18:275–307
Emilios Christodoulidis. “Strategies of Rupture.” Law Critique. December 2008.


Day 2: Legal Ruptures

10:30 – 1:30 pm
Brenna Bhandar (Lecturer in Property Law, Queen Mary)
Eitan Diamond, ‘Visual Evidence in Law’
Respondent: Ayesha Hameed (Post-Doctoral Fellow, CRA)

Lunch 1:30 – 2:30 pm

2:30 – 5:30 pm
Workshop around the legal case of the wall in Battir (West Bank) with:
Nicola Perugini (Visiting Scholar, Princeton), ‘The Forensics of Heritage’
Michael Sfard (human rights attorney) (via video-conference)
Joanne Mariner (Senior Crisis Response Advisor at Amnesty International)
Alessandro Petti (Director, Urban Studies & Spatial Practices Program, Al Quds/Bard)
Ayesha Hameed (Post-Doctoral Fellow, CRA)

Readings (see sidebar links):
Bhandar, Brenna, “Strategies of Legal Rupture: the politics of judgment” (2012)
Perugini, Nicola, “Line, Legal Voids, and Anomic States” (2012)
Fernando Vidal, “Miracles, Science, and Testimony in Post-Tridentine Saint-Making.” Science in Context 20(3), 481–508 (2007).




Brenna Bhandar is a Lecturer in Property Law at Queen Mary. Her research engages theories of property ownership in colonial and post-colonial contexts, including Canada and Palestine. Examining claims for the recognition of land rights in the post-colonial context, she undertakes an analysis of the ways in which property ownership is a constitutive aspect of political citizenship. Traversing the domains of post-colonial and critical theory, she has published in the areas of indigenous rights, multiculturalism and secularism, feminist theory and critical legal theory. Prior to joining Queen Mary, Brenna was a lecturer at Kent Law School (2007-2011). Brenna was called to the Bar of  British Columbia, Canada before embarking on her PhD at Birkbeck School of Law. Her doctoral thesis was awarded the Julien Mezey Dissertation Prize by the Association for Law, Cultures and the Humanities. Brenna has been a visiting lecturer in South Africa and Canada.

Emilios Christodoulidis has been Professor of Legal Theory at the Law School since 2006. Prior to that he taught at the University of Edinburgh. He holds degrees from the Universities of Athens (LLB) and Edinburgh (LLM, PhD). His interests lie mainly in the area of the philosophy and sociology of law and in constitutional theory. He is author of many articles on constitutional theory, democratic theory, critical legal theory, and transitional justice, and his book Law and Reflexive Politics won the European Award for Legal Theory in 1996 and the 1998 Society of Legal Scholars (SLS) Prize for ‘Outstanding Legal Scholarship’. He was visiting Professor at the European Academy for Legal Theory in Brussels between 1996 and 1998, at the Faculty of Law in Antwerp in 2008, and was a fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Nantes in 2011. In June/July 2002 he gave the seventh series of the KOBE lectures in Japan.  He is editor of the ‘Edinburgh/Glasgow Law and Society series’ (Ashgate Publishing), and is on the editorial board of Social & Legal Studies and Law & Critique. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the IVR (International Association for Legal and Social Philosophy).

Eitan Diamond is Legal Adviser to the Delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Before joining the ICRC in 2007, Eitan served as a Research Officer and Legal Adviser at B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. Earlier in his career he worked as a commercial lawyer specializing in telecommunications law. Eitan is a co-founder of the London-based international charity Videre Est Credere and has served as a legal consultant for the research project Forensic Architecture: The Space of Law in War. He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies. Eitan has an LLB from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and an LLM in Public International Law from the London School of Economics and Political Science and has also pursued MA studies in Philosophy at Tel Aviv University. 

Oscar Guardiola-Rivera joined Birkbeck in 2005. He is now Assistant Dean of the School of Law, and collaborates with the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities. He is the writer of the award-winning What If Latin America Ruled the World? (Bloomsbury, 2010), chosen as one the best non-fiction books that year by The Financial Times and reviewed in The Washington Post, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, BBC Radio 4 Start the Week, with Andrew Marr, Al-Jazeera’s The Riz Khan Show, Folha de Sao Paulo, and other major newspapers and media around the world. He has published in Granta, is a weekly columnist of El Espectador (COL), and a frequent contributor to the BBC World Service Nightwaves, The Stream, Monocle Radio 24, NTN 24, and Al-Jazeera, among others. He has been invited to take part in the Hay Festivals (Wales, Colombia, Lebanon and Mexico), and contributed as a curator and a speaker with the Serpentine Gallery, Southbank Centre, Intelligence Squared, Tate Modern, Pen International, and Colombiage. Born in Colombia, he was educated in that country and in Great Britain. He graduated as a lawyer in Bogotá (Universidad Javeriana, 1993) after leading the Student Movement that initiated the 1990’s wave of constitutional reform throughout Latin America, and obtained his LLM with Distinction at University College London, and his PhD in Philosophy at the King’s College of the University of Aberdeen. 

Aye­sha Hameed is a the­or­ist and artist whose video and cur­at­orial work focuses on bor­ders in the con­text of sans-papiers organ­iz­ing and migrant sub­jectiv­ity. Her work has been presen­ted at the Banff Centre for the Arts, La Cent­rale Galerie Power­house, OBORO, Mon­tréal Arts Inter­cul­turels (MAI), ISEA and else­where. A former board mem­ber of Fuse Magazine, her writ­ing has been pub­lished in Pub­lic and Topia as well as a few col­lec­tions of essays like PLACE: Loc­a­tion and Belong­ing in New Media Con­texts. Hameed is cur­rently a Postdoc­toral Fel­low at the Centre for Research Archi­tec­ture at Gold­smiths, Uni­ver­sity of London.

Joanne Mariner Joanne Mariner is a senior crisis response advisor at Amnesty International. She has investigated human rights abuses around the globe, focusing in recent years on counterterrorism laws and policies, indefinite detention, the criminal prosecution of suspected terrorists, and the nexus between counterterrorism and the law of armed conflict. Ms. Mar­iner draf­ted Human Rights Watch’s 1999 sub­mis­sion to the House of Lords in the Pinochet case, and was the author of a ground-breaking 2001 report on prison rape. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and on the board of advisors of the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague and the International Justice Resource Center. A gradu­ate of Yale Law School, she served as a law clerk to Judge Stephen Rein­hardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Cir­cuit. 

Godofredo Pereira is an architect based in Porto and London. He holds a MArch from the Bartlett and is currently a PhD candidate at the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths. His research Territorial Fetishism investigates the role of techno-science in contemporary political and epistemological conflicts over territory in Latin America. He teaches History and Theory at the MArch Urban Design program at the Bartlett, is co-editor of ‘Detritos’ a journal of art and critical theory ( and editor of the book Savage Objects, INCM, 2012 (

Nicola Perugini is an anthropologist who teaches at the Al Quds Bard Honors College in Jerusalem. His work focuses on colonialism, space and law. He also writes on images, literature and the politics of the gaze. Perugini is currently a visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. 

Alessandro Petti is director of the Urban Studies and Spatial Practices Program at Al Quds/Bard Honors College, Palestine. He has co-curated different research projects on the contemporary urban condition, including Border DevicesUncertain States of Europe, and Stateless Nation. His work has been presented in various biennales and museum exhibitions. He has written on the emerging spatial order dictated by the paradigm of security and control (Archipelagos and Enclaves, Mondadori 2007), and is currently working on a research project entitle Atlas of Decolonization, an architectural documentation on the re-use, re-inhabitation and subversion of colonial structures, including those in Israel’s Occupied Territories.

Michael Sfard is an international human rights lawyer and activist. He represents Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations, communities, committees and individuals. Sfard’s cases deal directly with the Occupation, and range from those dealing with the route of the Separation Barrier to defending conscientious objectors and Palestinian prisoners.