Archives of Military Courts in Colonial Congo: New Sources for the History of Violence and Agency in Central Africa

Benoît Henriet, Amandine Lauro, Renaud Juste

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Abstract

This article offers an overview of the recently rediscovered archives of the
Conseils de Guerre—the military court—of colonial Congo (1885–1960). As a long considered lost collection of court records encompassing seventy years of testimonies
of colonial military crimes, these archives offer unparalleled insights on the complex
relation between law, impunity, and armed violence in colonial Central Africa. The
article first sheds light on the history of those records and on their ongoing digitization in the context of debates about the contested heritage of Belgian “displaced” colonial public archives. It then sketches out several promising avenues for academic research and public history projects that they could help document, notably on the controversial history of violence in the Belgian empire and on the multifaceted nature of African agency under colonial rule.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-274
Number of pages16
JournalHistory in Africa
Volume50
Issue number2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the African Studies Association.

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