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Witness Testimony and the Negotiation of 'Culture' at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

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Duration: 0:54:49 | Added: 25 Jun 2019
This talk was given as part of the Oxford Transitional Justice Research (OTJR) Seminar Series.

Scholars reflecting on the participation of African witnesses in international trials have argued that 'culture' is an impediment. While some judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) supported this position, the majority of judges and lawyers placed emphasis on other impediments to witness testimony unrelated to Rwandan culture, including simultaneous interpretation, the question and answer format of witness examination, protection orders and the consequences of witnesses having given testimony in multiple trials. The paper assesses whether the consequences of these non-cultural impediments have been misrepresented as being due to 'culture' and how this relates to the essentialising and demeaning of 'culture' in domestic legal contexts.

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