On Judgment: Managing Emotions in Trials of Crimes Against Humanity in Argentina

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  • Noa Vaisman
  • Leticia Barrera, Universidad Nacional de San Martin, Argentina

For over a decade, judicial accountability of mass human rights violations committed during the last civil-military dictatorship in Argentina (1976-1983) has been carried out in federal courts by regular judges, following the rules of the National Code of Criminal Procedure. Research on these trials has focused mainly on the victims and the accused. This article opens a different path by exploring the affective experiences of the judges presiding over and leading the trials. Based on interviews with 18 federal court judges and some participant observation, in this article we present a descriptive exploration of the judges' experiences and sensemaking processes. We examine the complex interaction between the professional requirement to separate emotions from judgment and the emotional toll that these trials produce in the personal and professional lives of the judges. We end with short reflections on these crimes against humanity trials in the post-Transitional Justice context.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial & Legal Studies
Pages (from-to)812-834
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

    Research areas

  • Trials, Emotions, Judgment, Argentina, emotions, LAW, PROTAGONIST, JUDGES, crimes against humanity, RECONCILIATION, judgment, TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE, Transitional Justice, TRAUMA

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