“When did you decide to tell the truth?”: Negotiating truth in rape trials before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Whilst there has been much investigation of courtroom testimony and other linguistic aspects of legal process, there has been little consideration of the linguistic basis of war crimes tribunals such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which provides the data for this article. The testimony of witnesses in ICTY rape trials is investigated to discover how their examination by counsel may affect these alleged victims of a brutal war. The approach taken is textual as well as discoursal, focusing on the co-construction of meaning between counsel and witnesses — and its failures. The frequent meta discussions about the nature of truth in the testimony shows up some disjunction between the parties in their understanding of the process they are engaged in, leading to the conclusion that the witnesses may have been ‘revictimised’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-177
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Language Aggression and Conflict
Volume4
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2016

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Yugoslavia
linguistics
rape
Linguistics
testimony
witness
crime
Crime
legal process
war crime
examination
Testimony
Witness
Former Yugoslavia
Rape
Counsel

Cite this

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title = "“When did you decide to tell the truth?”: Negotiating truth in rape trials before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia",
abstract = "Whilst there has been much investigation of courtroom testimony and other linguistic aspects of legal process, there has been little consideration of the linguistic basis of war crimes tribunals such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which provides the data for this article. The testimony of witnesses in ICTY rape trials is investigated to discover how their examination by counsel may affect these alleged victims of a brutal war. The approach taken is textual as well as discoursal, focusing on the co-construction of meaning between counsel and witnesses — and its failures. The frequent meta discussions about the nature of truth in the testimony shows up some disjunction between the parties in their understanding of the process they are engaged in, leading to the conclusion that the witnesses may have been ‘revictimised’.",
keywords = "International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), revictimization of rape victims, oppositional meaning, truth, witness testimony",
author = "Lesley Jeffries",
note = "Accepted date taken from e-prints as not available on publisher's website SH 12/9/17.",
year = "2016",
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journal = "Journal of Language Aggression and Conflict",
issn = "2213-1272",
publisher = "John Benjamins Publishing",
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PY - 2016/12/16

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AB - Whilst there has been much investigation of courtroom testimony and other linguistic aspects of legal process, there has been little consideration of the linguistic basis of war crimes tribunals such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which provides the data for this article. The testimony of witnesses in ICTY rape trials is investigated to discover how their examination by counsel may affect these alleged victims of a brutal war. The approach taken is textual as well as discoursal, focusing on the co-construction of meaning between counsel and witnesses — and its failures. The frequent meta discussions about the nature of truth in the testimony shows up some disjunction between the parties in their understanding of the process they are engaged in, leading to the conclusion that the witnesses may have been ‘revictimised’.

KW - International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY)

KW - revictimization of rape victims

KW - oppositional meaning

KW - truth

KW - witness testimony

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DO - 10.1075/jlac.4.2.01jef

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