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The Witnesses
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The Witnesses
War Crimes and the Promise of Justice in The Hague

Eric Stover

248 pages | 6 x 9
Paper 2007 | ISBN 9780812219944 | $26.50s | Outside the Americas £19.99
Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors
A volume in the series Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights
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Named 2006 Book of the Year in Human Rights by the American Political Science Association

"An outstanding book."—H-Net Reviews
"Stover's important study illuminates new terrain and provides a valuable tool for evaluating and improving the performance of the international human rights courts that emerged in the 1990s. . . . Highly recommended."—Choice

"The Witnesses is clearly an important work. . . . Stover's interviews are often riveting, punctuated with critical evaluative and emotional voices of simple people describing unspeakable hardship. The author's compelling presentation succeeds where no structured randomized sample would shed light, namely, in demonstrating the very human moral sensitivities of the respondents as they talk about their family tragedies, their self-styled moral duty to testify on behalf of the dead, their aspirations for justice, and their disappointments."—Richard Pierre Claude, Professor Emeritus, University of Maryland

In recent years, the world community has demonstrated a renewed commitment to the pursuit of international criminal justice. In 1993, the United Nations established two ad hoc international tribunals to try those responsible for genocide and crimes against humanity in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Ten years later, the International Criminal Court began its operations and is developing prosecutions in its first two cases (Congo and Uganda). Meanwhile, national and hybrid war crimes tribunals have been established in Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, East Timor, Indonesia, Iraq, and Cambodia.

Thousands of people have given testimony before these courts. Most have witnessed war crimes, including mass killings, torture, rape, inhumane imprisonment, forced expulsion, and the destruction of homes and villages. For many, testifying in a war crimes trial requires great courage, especially as they are well aware that war criminals still walk the streets of their villages and towns. Yet despite these risks, little attention has been paid to the fate of witnesses of mass atrocity. Nor do we know much about their experiences testifying before an international tribunal or the effect of such testimony on their return to their postwar communities. The first study of victims and witnesses who have testified before an international war crimes tribunal, The Witnesses examines the opinions and attitudes of eighty-seven individuals—Bosnians, Muslims, Serbs, and Croats—who have appeared before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Eric Stover is Faculty Director of the Human Rights Center and Adjunct Professor of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of numerous books, including Witnesses from the Grave: The Stories Bones Tell (with Christopher Joyce), and editor of The Breaking of Bodies and Minds: Torture, Psychiatric Abuse, and the Health Professions (with Elena O. Nightingale).

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