Advertisement

Interview Techniques in International Criminal Court and Tribunals

  • Melanie O’Brien
  • Mark Kebbell
Chapter

Abstract

In this chapter we will discuss the interview techniques that interviewers report being used in international criminal courts and tribunals such as at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Court (ICC) with regards to suspects and “insider witnesses” to alleged international crimes (war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide). Much of the evidence in these trials is elicited from witnesses, victims and suspects, and therefore the way in which they are interviewed is critical to successful prosecutions of the guilty. Interviewing of suspects is as important as interviewing victims and witnesses, as this can assist with information gathering and the process towards establishing the truth (or at least partial truth) of these horrendous crimes and their surrounding context. The interviewers came from a variety of cultural and educational backgrounds (including both law enforcement and the legal profession) and, as such, international criminal investigators and prosecutors are likely to be influenced by their national training and experience. These differences may impact significantly on the interview processes and techniques used to interview individuals concerning international crimes such as genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Yet despite these differences, the interviewers endorsed establishing rapport, using open questions, and encouraging free-recall. They also emphasised the importance of using evidence effectively and being aware of cultural issues. The need for specialised training of all investigators was also highlighted, in order to ensure a certain level of competency in specific techniques.

Keywords

International Criminal Justice Interview techniques Suspects International Criminal Court Rapport Evidence Cultural diversity 

Notes

Acknowledgment

The author would like to thank all participants in the research survey, and the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon for granting permission to interview current staff members. Particular thanks go to John Ralston and Greg Townsend, who facilitated a number of interviews.

References

  1. Bergsmo, M., & Wiley, W. H. (2008). Human rights professionals and the criminal investigation and prosecution of core international crimes. In S. Skåre, I. Burkey & H. Mørk (Eds.), Manual on human rights monitoring: An introduction for human rights field officers. Oslo: Norwegian Centre for Human Rights University of Oslo.Google Scholar
  2. Cassell, P. G., & Hayman, B. S. (1996). Police interrogation in the 1990s: An empirical study of the effects of Miranda. University of California Law Review, 43, 839–931.Google Scholar
  3. Cryer, R., Wilsmhurst, E., Friman, H., & Robinson, D. (2007). An introduction to international criminal law and procedure. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Evans, K. (1995). Advocacy in court: A beginner’s guide (2nd ed.). London: Blackstone.Google Scholar
  5. Fisher, R. P. (1995). Interviewing victims and witnesses of crime. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 1, 732–764.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Goldstone, R. J. (1996). Justice as a tool for peace-making: Truth commissions and international criminal tribunals. NYU Journal of International Law and Politics, 28, 485–503.Google Scholar
  7. Groome, D. (2011). The handbook of human rights investigation (2nd ed.) CreateSpace.Google Scholar
  8. Gudjonsson, G.H. (Ed.). (2003). The Psychology of Interrogations and Confessions: A Handbook. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  9. Gudjonsson, G. H., & Petursson, H. (1991). Custodial interrogation: Why do suspects confess and how does it relate to their crime, attitude and personality. Personality & Individual Differences, 12, 295–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Higate, P. (Ed.). (2003). Military masculinities: Identity and the state. Westport, CT: Praeger.Google Scholar
  11. Inbau, F. E., Reid, J. E., Buckley, J. P., & Jayne, B. C. (2001). Criminal interrogation and confessions (4th ed.). Gaithersberg, MD: Aspen.Google Scholar
  12. Kebbell, M.R., Hurren, E.J., & Roberts, S. (2006). Mock suspects’ decisions to confess: Accuracy of eyewitness evidence is crucial. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 20, 477–486.Google Scholar
  13. Kebbell, M. R., Milne, R., & Wagstaff, G. F. (1999). The cognitive interview: A survey of its forensic effectiveness. Psychology, Crime and Law, 5, 101–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Milne, R., & Bull, R. (1999). Investigative interviewing: Psychology and practice. Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
  15. Moston, S., Stephenson, G. M., & Williamson, T. (1992). The effect of case characteristics on suspect behaviour during police questioning. British Journal of Criminology, 32, 23–40.Google Scholar
  16. Nystedt, M., Nielsen, C. A., & Kleffner, J. K. (Eds.). (2011). A handbook on assisting international criminal investigations. Stockholm: Folke Bernadotte Academy.Google Scholar
  17. Powell, M. B., Fisher, R. P., & Wright, R. (2005). Investigative interviewing. In N. Brewer & K. D. Williams (Eds.), Psychology and law: An empirical perspective (11–42). New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  18. Powell, M., & Lancaster, S. (2003). Guidelines for interviewing children during child custody evaluations. Australian Psychologist, 38, 46–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Rauxloh, R. E. (2010). Negotiated history: The historical record in international criminal law and plea bargaining. International Criminal Law Review, 10, 739–770.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Read, J. M., Powell, M. B., Kebbell, M. R., Milne, R., & Steinberg, R. (2013). Evaluating police interviewing practices with suspects in child sexual abuse cases. Policing and Society. doi:10.1080/10439463.2013.784297.Google Scholar
  21. Schabas, W. A. (2006). The UN International Criminal Tribunals: The former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Schabas, W. A. (2007). An introduction to the International Criminal Court (3rd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Seller, S., & Kebbell, M. (2011). The role of evidence in the interviewing of suspects: An analysis of Australian police transcripts. British Journal of Forensic Practice, 13, 84–94.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Griffith UniversityQueenslandAustralia

Personalised recommendations