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Vol 21 No 9 Sept/Oct 2016

Book of the Month

Cover of Goode on Commercial Law

Goode on Commercial Law

Edited by: Ewan McKendrick
Price: £170.00

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Culture under Cross-Examination: International Justice and the Special Court for Sierra Leone

ISBN13: 9780521767781
New Edition ISBN: 9781107666191
Published: June 2009
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £79.99

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The international community created the Special Court for Sierra Leone to prosecute those who bore the greatest responsibility for crimes committed during the country’s devastating civil war. Tim Kelsall examines some of the challenges posed by the fact that the Court operated in a largely unfamiliar culture, in which the way local people thought about rights, agency and truth-telling sometimes differed radically from the way international lawyers think about these things. By applying an anthro-political perspective to the trials, he unveils a variety of ethical, epistemological, jurisprudential and procedural problems, arguing that although touted as a promising hybrid, the Court failed in crucial ways to adapt to the local culture concerned. Culture matters, and international justice requires a more dialogical, multicultural approach.

  • As the first book-length study of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, it provides a narrative overview of a historically important ‘hybrid’ tribunal
  • Anthro-political study provides a new approach to international trials
  • Discusses jurisprudential, procedural, ethical and epistemological issues, and will appeal to lawyers, transitional justice experts, legal anthropologists, students of African studies and philosophers

International Criminal Law
1. White man's justice? Sierra Leone and the expanding project of international law
2. The story of the CDF trial
3. An unconventional army: chains of command in a patrimonial society
4. Facts, metaphysics and mysticism: magical powers and the law
5. We cannot accept any cultural consideration: the child soldiers charge
6. 'He's not very forthright': finding the facts in a culture of secrecy
7. Cultural issues in the RUF, AFRC, and Charles Taylor trials
8. Conclusion: from legal imperialism to dialogics.