Trauma in the Courtroom
"Cambodia's Hidden Scars", Beth Van Schaack, Daryn Reicherter, and Youk Chhang (eds.), 2011
Posted: 29 May 2013
Date Written: March 1, 2011
Addressing widespread trauma is crucial for any society emerging from mass atrocities. Advocates of criminal accountability processes contend that trials can help victims heal from trauma by providing justice and enabling at least some survivors to tell their stories. Numerous studies suggest, however, that involving victims in judicial proceedings carries real risks of retraumatization if the proceedings are not appropriately designed and conducted. Trauma can also impact survivor testimony and, thus, the efficiency and credibility of the judicial proceedings. This paper discusses and critiques the efforts of the U.N. backed Khmer Rouge tribunal to deal with the challenges of involving traumatized survivors in courtroom criminal proceedings.
Keywords: international criminal law, mental health, trauma, transitional justice
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