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Acoustic JurisprudenceListening to the Trial of Simon Bikindi$
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James E K Parker

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198735809

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198735809.001.0001

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Judging the Rwandan Soundscape

Judging the Rwandan Soundscape

Chapter:
(p.159) 7 Judging the Rwandan Soundscape
Source:
Acoustic Jurisprudence
Author(s):

James E K Parker

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198735809.003.0008

This chapter explores the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)’s depiction of the Rwandan soundscape. It begins with the Tribunal’s presentation of the genocide as a ‘noisy’ backdrop from which Bikindi’s songs and speech emerged. The chapter then considers the Tribunal’s approach to radio, which played such a key role in the genocide in general and in the diffusion of Bikindi’s songs in particular. The ICTR consistently presented this complex technical and social apparatus as little more than a means of extending and intensifying the speaking or singing voice, like a particularly effective loudspeaker. The final part of the chapter addresses the Tribunal’s approach to audio-recording and reproduction, and suggests that the poverty of its account in this respect can be read as symptomatic of the more general difficulty it had in relation to Bikindi’s songs.

Keywords:   genocide, incitement to genocide, freedom of expression, Rwanda, noise, radio, media, soundscape

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