The Evidence of What Cannot Be Heard: Reading Trauma into and Testimony against the Witness Stand at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda


This paper explores the silences and the gaps that cut through witness testimonies at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) by applying a trauma lens to the narratives that emerge on the witness stand and by contrasting those with a survivor testimony. It compares the recollection of a traumatic experience with the production of legal meaning. To do so, it focuses specifically on a survivor testimony shared with the author at the Rwandan Nyange memorial in 2014 where the crimes in question happened, and the ICTR The Prosecutor vs Athanase Seromba trial that relates to the events at that particular site. This paper shows that the experience of trauma not only challenges the language of law but also blurs the legal narratives and functions of tribunals like the ICTR.

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Published: 2017-03-01
Pages:51 to 72
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