Mass Atrocity, Mass Testimony, and the Quantitative Turn in International Law

Law & Society Review Volume 53, Issue 2 Pages: 317-634 June 2019

Hebrew University of Jerusalem Legal Research Paper No. 19-28

55 Pages Posted: 17 May 2019 Last revised: 4 Nov 2019

See all articles by Renana Keydar

Renana Keydar

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law; Martin Buber Society of Fellows; Stanford University - School of Humanities & Sciences

Date Written: March 24, 2019

Abstract

The article identifies and analyses the development it labels the “quantitative turn” in international criminal law. Addressing the cumulative effect of the large numbers of witnesses in international processes, the article considers quantity as an integral, and substantively beneficial, component of the law’s response to atrocity crimes. The article develops a theorized understanding of the relationship between mass atrocity and mass testimony and provides a taxonomy of the functions that the quantity of testimonies fulfills in international trials: the evidentiary, didactic, epistemic, and restorative functions. Focusing on a recent case before the International Criminal Court in the matter of The Prosecutor v. Bemba, the article demonstrates how the different players in the international justice system — Prosecution, Defense, Victims, and the Court — employ the functions of quantity, while negotiating concerns over manageability and scale. The goal of this article is to prompt a debate and a more careful consideration of the potential benefits of a meaningful participation of witnesses and victims in post-atrocity proceedings. This is particularly important given the dominance of the efficiency paradigm in international criminal law (ICL) discourse, which directly impacts the quantitative turn. The article forges new ways for ICL institutions to maintain a plurality of voices and their commitment to victims while safeguarding the rights of the accused.

Keywords: international criminal law, mass atrocity, testimony, evidence

Suggested Citation

Keydar, Renana, Mass Atrocity, Mass Testimony, and the Quantitative Turn in International Law (March 24, 2019). Law & Society Review Volume 53, Issue 2 Pages: 317-634 June 2019; Hebrew University of Jerusalem Legal Research Paper No. 19-28. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3359134

Renana Keydar (Contact Author)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law ( email )

Mount Scopus
Mount Scopus, IL 91905
Israel

Martin Buber Society of Fellows ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, IL Jerusalem 91905
Israel

Stanford University - School of Humanities & Sciences ( email )

518 Memorial Way Building 1
Stanford, CA 94305
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.stanford.edu/dept/DLCL/cgi-bin/web/people/renana-keydar

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