Bangor hosts international conference on proof in international criminal trials

Bangor Law School and the Bangor Centre for International Law recently hosted a conference on 'Proof in International Criminal Trials'. The conference formed part of Dr Yvonne McDermott's project, 'A Taxonomy of Evidence before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia', which is funded by the British Academy Quantitative Skills Acquisition Award scheme. The project is based on the idea that it is both possible and desirable to quantify proof in international criminal trials.

Speakers focussed on such issues as the utility of neo-Wigmorean analysis and its application to international criminal trials (Professors Twining, Anderson, Roberts and Dr McDermott); the challenges in assessing witness testimony and witness proofing practices (Judge Doherty; Professors Combs and Jackson); narrative, inferential reasoning and Bayesian analysis in international criminal judgments (Drs De Smet and Klamberg; Mr Windridge); and distinct issues in proving international crimes (Dr Marinello; Ms Brennan and Krebs).

Dr McDermott was ably assisted by LLB Law student Mohammed Khorasanee, who provided technical and logistical support. “It was great to be in a room full of leading academics, international lawyers and judges presenting their own research”, commented Mohammed, who graduated earlier this month. “I was awestruck with the extent to which the research, presentations and interactions sparked a keen interest in me – an academic discussion challenging the status quo of international criminal trial procedures and a discourse on the future of International Criminal Law both greatly expanded my horizons. I am grateful to Dr McDermott and the Law School for allowing me to take part in this once in a life time experience.”

Some of the papers will be published in a special symposium issue of the Journal of International Criminal Justice in early 2015. Podcasts from the conference are available via the links below.

Session 1: Approaches to Inference and Proof in International Criminal Trials

Professor William Twining (University College London) and Professor Terence Anderson (University of Miami), ‘Proof, Policy, and Credibility in the ICTR: A Case Study’

Professor Paul Roberts (University of Nottingham), ‘Facing Facts’

Dr. Mark Klamberg (Uppsala University), ‘Evaluating Evidence in International Criminal Trials: Quantitative Grading, Eliminating Alternative Hypotheses or Both?’ 

Session 2: Evaluating Evidence in International Criminal Trials

Justice Teresa Doherty (Special Court for Sierra Leone Residual Mechanism). ‘Listening and Understanding: Assessing Credibility of Witnesses in the International Tribunals’

Professor Nancy Combs (William and Mary School of Law), ‘Fact-Finding Without Facts: The Uncertain Evidentiary Foundations of International Criminal Convictions’

Ms. Shiri Krebs (Stanford University), ‘Naming, Blaming and Legal Framing: Barriers to War Crimes Investigations’ 

Session 3: Trends in Evidence and Proof in the International Criminal Tribunals

Professor John Jackson (University of Nottingham), ‘To Proof or not to Proof: Procedural Divergence, Cultural Diversity, and the Integrity of Witness Evidence within the ICC’

Mr. Oliver Windridge (International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda), ‘Inference v. Speculation: The ICTR’s Approach to Inference’

Dr. Yvonne McDermott (Bangor University), ‘(Re-)Assessing Findings of Fact on Appeal at the ICTY: When does the ‘Only Reasonable Conclusion’ become Unreasonable?’ 

Session 4: The Challenges of Evidence and Proof in International Criminal Law

Dr. Triestino Marinello (Edge Hill University), ‘The Confirmation of Charges at the International Criminal Court: a Tale of Two Models’

Ms. Anna Marie Brennan (University College Cork), ‘The Complexities in Proving a Policy to Commit Crimes Against Humanity: An Analysis of the Pre-Trial Chamber’s Confirmation of the Charges Decision in the Gbagbo Case’

Dr. Simon de Smet (International Criminal Court), ‘Are International Crimes Justiciable? Some Thoughts on the Volume of Evidence and the Criminal Standard of Proof’

Publication date: 28 July 2014