If, as Immi Tallgren claims, international criminal law ‘is a universe constructed in language’, it is not only in legal documents, academic works, and judgments that this construction takes place; it is actively enacted in the courtroom discourse. Whereas most of the content of courtroom debates gets lost in large databases of trial transcripts, the opening statement stands out for its wider reach. With regard to time, the trial is portrayed as a break with as well as a continuation of tradition—a revolutionary as well as a self-evident outcome of history. Trials help the world to overcome chaos, while ongoing chaos seems not to be a reason to doubt the effectiveness of trials; a never-again promise can be made ever again, previous trials are presented as successes, and new tribunals are introduced as improved versions of what was already good. The trial has to be framed in legal language, drawing on concepts and principles from criminal law.