The Reality of Testimony


Prosecuting a case often hinges on testimony - a complex act in situations where privacy, fear, and possible stigma may impact the willingness of survivors or their relatives to provide evidence. Throughout the international legal system, a variety of efforts are being made to provide protection, security, and psychosocial support for these essential members of the judicial process. 

However, this is not a simple task. Complexities can occur when resources for protection are limited, when communities are small and the identities of perpetrators and victims are known to many parties, when the rights of the defense depend on knowing who is providing evidence, and when the media is involved. 

Additionally, in many countries impacted by conflict, the economic realities of testimony cannot be overstated. In order to partake in the often slow judicial process participants must often travel, miss opportunities to work, and require outside care for children. 

The full development of a fair and just system of legal redress for sexual violence in conflict requires support for witnesses in a manner that addresses this range of topics and more.