Virtual Panel Discussion
Prima Facie: “Comfort Women,” North Korean Defectors, and Testimony as Evidence
Alexis Dudden, University of Conneticut
Sandra Fahy, Sophia University
Jeong-Ho Roh, Columbia Law School
Monday, March 29, 2021
Eyewitness testimony has long been regarded as powerful evidence, particularly in the legal context but also in other disciplines. Oral accounts of victims and witnesses provide potent and vivid pictures of events and circumstances that we otherwise might have little knowledge of. Yet since the 1960s social scientists have expressed serious concerns about the reliability of testimony. Multiple studies have shown that biases, unconscious memory distortions and time affect accurate recall. But what do we do when testimony makes up the majority of the evidence we have? How do experts in disciplines as diverse as the law, history and anthropology control for the problems associated with testimonial evidence to arrive at accurate, truthful accounts upon which we can rely? How do we counter the use and abuse of testimony by states who use it to create their own narratives?
Co-sponsored by Center for Korean Legal Studies at Columbia Law School