Recent History in the Courtroom: Notes on an Experience as an Expert Witness in a Trial for Crimes Against Humanity in Argentina
Noiret, Serge <Istituto Universitario Europeo, Firenze>
Garaño, Santiago <National Scientific and Technical Research Council, Buenos Aires, Argentina; National University of Lanús, Buenos Aires, Argentina>
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In this work I reflect on a new figure that has been gaining presence in trials for crimes against humanity since 2005: the “context witness,” a specialist – usually coming from social sciences – who is presented as a witness and whose contribution is taken as testimonial evidence. I rely on my participation in the oral and public trial “Operation Independence,” in which I testified about my doctoral research on the experience of conscripts in southern Tucumán, Argentina between 1975 and 1977. My argument is that social sciences can provide meticulous reconstructions of the logic of repression, helping us to understand how state terror was possible.