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

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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
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2016


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