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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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Giving Voice

Giving Voice

Chapter:
(p.132) 6 Giving Voice
Source:
Acoustic Jurisprudence
Author(s):

James E K Parker

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198735809.003.0007

This chapter considers how the speaking voice was called upon in court in the Bikindi case. It begins with the ‘solemn declaration’, which it argues is both highly anomalous from an institutional perspective and, in a sense, foundational: an act of community formation by means of vocalization. With the ‘principle of publicity’, by contrast, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is less concerned with the act of vocalization than the voice’s audibility, a fact that is particularly obvious in relation to its treatment of ‘protected witnesses’. The chapter then turns to the role played by text in the judicial soundscape, and in particular to the practices of pronouncing judgment, court reporting, and speaking ‘for the record’. In each case the chapter observes a highly ambiguous dynamic whereby the voice is at once privileged in relation to the written word and simultaneously made ancillary to it.

Keywords:   soundscape, courtroom, voice, speech, oath, text, ICTR, metaphysics

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