Quality Control in International Fact-Finding Outside Criminal Justice for Core International Crimes

2013 LI Haopei Lecture and Seminar
Florence, 20 May 2013

Link to Seminar Concept and Programme | Link to Aksenova list of fact-finding mandates

The 2013 LI Haopei Seminar took place in Florence on 20 May 2013 on the topic ‘Quality Control in International Fact-Finding Outside Criminal Justice for Core International Crimes’. The seminar was co-organized by the FICHL, the European University Institute (EUI), and Peking University International Law Institute. The 2013 LI Haopei Lecture was given by Professor Richard J. Goldstone. The programme details the sub-topics and speakers, including EUI President Marise Cremona, Professors Martin Scheinin and Francoise J. Hampson, Judge LIU Daqun, and 15 other experts from a variety of backgrounds, including five from China.   

There are academic efforts under way to map, and analyse best practices of, the plethora of international fact-finding commissions and other mandates to look into allegations of serious violations of international criminal, humanitarian or human rights law (see the list hyperlinked above, prepared by Marina Aksenova). There have been significant developments in international practice in this area since the Commission of Experts for the former Yugoslavia established pursuant to UN Security Council resolution 780 (1992), an institution which served as a catalyst for later developments. The FICHL supports these academic efforts, and seeks - together with the European University Institute and Peking University International Law Institute - to supplement them by focusing the 2013 LI Haopei Seminar more precisely on quality control in the concrete contexts of (1) the formulation of the mandate of relevant international fact-finding; (2) the work processes in relevant fact-finding and -analysis; (3) the writing of fact-finding reports and conclusions; and (4) public communication in connection with the submission of the final report. The seminar took into account the political, resource and information constraints within which many fact-finding mandates are executed.

The quality of their mandate, work processes and reporting determine the utility, efficacy and legitimacy of international fact-finding commissions and inquiries. Increasing the awareness and understanding of quality control may enhance the value of international fact-finding to relevant stakeholders, ultimately to victims and, indirectly, taxpayers who make it possible for Governments to support such commissions. More refined quality control mechanisms can make the success of international fact-finding less conditioned by the individual composition of any given commission. Quality control can also contribute to the substantive independence of the fact-finders’ assessment of allegations of serious violations of international criminal, humanitarian or human rights law.

Seminar papers will be published by the Torkel Opsahl Academic EPublisher.

The 2013 M.C. Bassiouni Justice Award was presented by Professor Goldstone to Mrs. Mirna D. Goransky at a ceremony in the Refectory of the EUI during the seminar.