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‘Illuminating the broader context’: anthropological and historical knowledge at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

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Abstract

Historians and anthropologists have been among the experts called to enlighten non-Rwandan judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Given that the Tribunal's regulations provide little guidance on who qualifies as an expert and that judges are not bound by national rules of evidence, judges exercise considerable discretion on who may provide expert testimony. By considering judges' scepticism towards repetitive expert testimony and that experts have changed their opinion because of information revealed in the course of the trials, this article seeks to convey the distinct characteristics of this innovative context and re-evaluate the assumption that anthropologists and historians are inevitably engaged in an epistemological contest with law when they act as experts in criminal trials.

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