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Perpetrators’ Knowledge: What and How Can We Learn from Perpetrator Testimony?

Author:

Sibylle Schmidt

Institute for Philosophy Freie Universität Berlin, DE
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Abstract

Testimony is not only a ubiquitous source of evidence in everyday life, but a natural institution which plays an important role in jurisdiction, historiography, religion and cultural tradition. The current discourse on testimony distinguishes broadly between two types of witnesses: the eyewitness as an impartial bystander – a figure which is traditionally important in the legal context, but also shapes the paradigmatic figure of the witness in historiography – and the survivor witness, who has experienced a remarkable appreciation in memorial culture, and in the general upgrading of victimhood in the globalised world. What is missing in this dichotomous typology is the figure of the perpetrator as witness. This paper aims to fill this gap by exploring the specific hermeneutical and moral problems that emerge when dealing with perpetrators’ accounts.
How to Cite: Schmidt, S., 2017. Perpetrators’ Knowledge: What and How Can We Learn from Perpetrator Testimony?. Journal of Perpetrator Research, 1(1). DOI: http://doi.org/10.21039/jpr.v1i1.38
Published on 11 Dec 2017.
Peer Reviewed

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