Voices of Law
Voices of Law
This chapter explores how the voice figured in the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)’s thinking, first at the level of doctrine, then evidence, then rhetoric. Throughout Bikindi’s trial the voice was consistently depicted as language’s instrument, the necessary medium in speech, its acoustic form, and material support. In this respect it performed precisely the same function for the Tribunal as music did in song. When it came to attributing responsibility to Bikindi for the three statements made over a public address system that would eventually found his conviction, however, the voice also did something else. In its apparent proximity to the ideality of thought, the voice operated as a kind of surrogate for and material embodiment of Bikindi’s intentions. It was Bikindi’s voice that guaranteed the expressive chain, as it were, between his intent, words, and the ears of his listeners, and in doing so enabled juridical responsibility to attach.
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