Fact-finding missions into human rights violations often precede criminal investigations. Yet, it is not clear how these two types of investigations relate to each other, particularly in terms of the sharing of information and evidence. Can criminal investigators and prosecutors interact more effectively with each other and with other investigators (including commissions of inquiry, UN panels of experts and the OHCHR, truth commissions etc.), without compromising their respective mandates? And if so, how?

This project tackles head-on a range of issues arising in connection with the multiple inquiries into facts that underlie the commission of international crimes. It uniquely examines the legal, theoretical and practical aspects and implications of multiple investigations of international crimes from the perspective of the organs of international criminal justice and other fact-finding agencies. The project aims to explore the actual and potential interplay between different fact-finders, to expose the limits of their cooperation, and to raise awareness of instances in which it would actually lead to the impairment of mandates and other negative consequences. In particular, the project seeks to identify the feasibility and desirability of developing a ‘Manual for multiple investigations of international crimes: Guidelines and best practices’ – an innovative and state-of-art compilation of practice-oriented guidelines and recommendations in this domain.

Project phases:

  1. Expert seminar for the refined need assessment (26-27 October 2012, The Hague). This meeting will set the scene and address the interplay between investigations by international and domestic criminal courts, UN commissions of inquiry and fact-finding missions, non-governmental organisations, and other fact-finding agencies in a more general manner. Based on the outcome of the first expert meeting, the research priorities, potential contributors, and further steps will be defined in more detail.
  2. Follow-up consultations, research and the development of a ‘Manual for multiple investigations: Guidelines and best practices’. This phase involves a process of expert consultations and meetings on core themes which will encompass: (i) the drafting of working papers on selected themes; (ii) targeted thematic workshops; and (iii) the elaboration of the Manual of guidelines and best practices geared to optimise the use of investigative resources and information.
  3. Implementation and dissemination of the Manual, including the provision of targeted expert training and consultancy to international criminal-law professionals, national law-enforcement organs and other organisations interested in enhancing and optimising their cooperation with judicial organs at both domestic and international levels.