Social researchers often feature as expert witnesses in international criminal trials, and there has yet to be a systematic evaluation of their impact on the co-production of courtroom knowledge. Analysis of over four hundred expert appearances shows that international judges do prefer experts using scientific methods. Unexpectedly, when social researchers are called, courts favor qualitative over quantitative approaches. In two international hate speech trials, a language expert was preferred to a quantitative sociologist because the former did not challenge the sovereignty of judges, or the status hierarchy of the courtroom. When excluding quantitative experts, judges cite “common sense” as the basis of facticity and knowledge. The prevailing epistemological framework at international criminal tribunals results from the knowledge strategies of legal actors operating in the structurally fragile context of international institutions.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Wilson: Expert Evidence on Trial: Social Researchers in the International Criminal Courtroom
Richard Ashby Wilson (Univ. of Connecticut -Law) has posted Expert Evidence on Trial: Social Researchers in the International Criminal Courtroom (American Ethnologist, forthcoming). Here's the abstract: