Saturday, April 01, 2017

Música y Derecho. Los sonidos del horror en el genocidio del pueblo tutsi (Ruanda, 1993-1994)



James E.K. Parker
Acoustic Jurisprudence: Listening to the Trial of Simon Bikindi
Oxford: Oxford UP, 2015, 272 pp.
ISBN 9780198735809

Between September 2006 and December 2008, Simon Bikindi stood trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, accused of inciting genocide with his songs. In the early 1990s, Bikindi had been one of Rwanda’s most well-known and popular figures – the country’s minister for culture and its most famous and respected singer. But by the end of 1994, his songs had quite literally soundtracked a genocide.
Acoustic Jurisprudence is the first detailed study of the trial that followed. It is also the first work of contemporary legal scholarship to address the many relations between law and sound, which are of much broader importance but which this trial very conspicuously raises. One half of the book addresses the Tribunal’s ‘sonic imagination’. How did the Tribunal conceive of Bikindi’s songs for the purposes of judgment? How did it understand the role of radio and other media in their transmission? And with what consequences for Bikindi?
The other half of the book is addressed to how such concerns played out in court. Bikindi’s was a ‘musical trial’, as one judge pithily observed. Audio and audio-visual recordings of his songs were played regularly throughout. Witnesses, including Bikindi himself, frequently sang, both of their own accord and at the request of the Tribunal. Indeed, Bikindi even sang his final statement. All the while, judges, barristers, and witnesses alike spoke into microphones and listened through headphones. As a result, the Bikindi case offers an ideal opportunity to explore what this book calls the ‘judicial soundscape’.
Through the lens of the Bikindi trial, the book’s most important innovation is to open up the field of sound to jurisprudential inquiry. Ultimately, it is an argument for a specifically acoustic jurisprudence.

 
Part I: Acoustic Jurisprudence
1: The Case for an Acoustic Jurisprudence
2: Listening to the Trial of Simon Bikindi
Part II: Song
3: The Musicology of Judgment
4: A Musical Trial
Part III: Speech
5: Voices of Law
6: Giving Voice
Part IV: Sound
7: Judging the Soundscape
8: The Judicial Soundscape
Conclusion
9: Towards Acoustic Justice

James E. K. Parker is a Senior Lecturer in Law at Melbourne Law School, where he is the director of a research programme on “Law, Sound, and the International” at the Institute for International Law and the Humanities. James is also a music critic and radio broadcaster.

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Canciones para un genocidio


 
La obra se ocupa, en efecto, de Simon Bikindi, acusado por Tribunal Penal Internacional para Ruanda de incitar al genocidio con sus canciones. Bikindi, que pertenecía al grupo hutu –matoritario dentro de la etnia banyaruanda– era el más popular músico de Ruanda, y durante 1993 y 1994, emitió desde la estación Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines un programa musical ‘Pro-genocidio’, incorporado sus canciones –musicalizadas en gangsta rap– en una campaña de propaganda que se usa para incitar a la violencia y el genocidio de los tutsis –que resultaron aniquilados en en 75 %–, así como de los hutus democráticos.
 
 
El trabajo de James E.K. Parker se ocupa de cuestiones como la militarización del sonido a través de tres perspectivas: el campo de batalla, la cámara de tortura y de la ciudad.
Parker también es un locutor de radio y crítico de música.
 
 
 
 
 
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Remito es estos enlace que, respectivamente, ofrecen un video muy interesante y bien construido acerca de la obra reseñada y aspectos ligados a temas de ‘Law and Humanities’
Dr James Parker - Law, Sound and Incitement to Genocide: Towards an Acoustic Jurisprudence
Sound Studies and Jurisprudence are yet to really encounter each other. The problem is on both ends. On the rare occasions questions of sound do feature in legal scholarship, they are invariably framed narrowly and uncritically as technical problems of rule or doctrine. Scholars working on the law of freedom of expression, copyright or noise pollution, for instance, almost never bring a theoretically sophisticated account of sound to the table. Laws regulate sound, but the way in which sound is conceived for such purposes is barely ever reflected on. Not just that. Contemporary jurisprudence has proven stubbornly disinterested in the sonority of legal practice itself: the diverse ways in which sound and listening are put to work, for instance, in court. Legal scholarship cares about architectural but not acoustic space. It worries about bodies but not voices. It cares about screens but not microphones, files but not audio-formats.
The inverse is true of Sound Studies. Its account of law could afford to be both more central and much richer. To take a crude but nevertheless telling measure, none of the discipline’s major collections –– Bull and Back’s The Auditory Culture Reader (2003), Sterne’s Sound Studies Reader (2012), Pinch and Bijsterveld’s The Oxford Handbook of Sound (2012) –– even mentions ‘Law’ in its index, whereas terms like ‘Gender’, ‘Capitalism’, ‘Race’, ‘War’ and ‘Religion’ all feature. Even when Sound Studies has addressed legal questions, from a jurisprudential perspective its account looks quite orthodox: confined to an interest in state-posited rules which in turn are presumed to operate mechanically, as if that were the extent of legal practice or the juridical world. And Sound Studies seems to care much more about cars, clinics and concerthalls than it does courtrooms. It worries about a diverse range of sonic environments, but never the ‘soundscape of judgment’.
This is a problem, I think, a failure of both disciplines. On the one hand, as a community of jurists, we must teach ourselves to listen to law, to attend properly to questions of sound in legal thought and practice. On the other hand, because law and legal institutions play a key role in determining both the kinds of sounds we hear and the ways in which we listen, Sound Studies could stand to learn from Jurisprudence too.
In elaborating these claims, in arguing for what I call an ‘acoustic jurisprudence’, this paper will work with examples from the trial of Simon Bikindi, accused by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda of inciting genocide with his songs. How, for instance, did the Tribunal understand Bikindi’s songs and their ‘deployment’ on the radio for the purposes of judgment? And what did it mean that, when Bikindi was offered the floor in order to make a ‘final statement’ at the close of his appeals hearing, for five and a half minutes he sang?
 
Presented by Peter Clarke.
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La bibliografía secudaria es abundante. Con pretensión sólo orientadora remito a:
-        Robert H. Synder, "Disillusioned Words Like Bullets Bark: Incitement to Genocide, Music, and The Trial of Simon Bikindi", The Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law  35 (2006), pp. 645-674.
-        Donald T. McNeil, "Killer songs: Simon Bikindi stands accused of writing folk music that fed the Rwandan genocide", The New York Times Magazine 17 (2002): 58-59.
-        Jason McCoy, “Making violence ordinary: radio, music and the Rwandan genocide”, Journal of International Library of African Music 8, 3 (2009), 85-96.
 
J.C.G.

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