Empirical Study of Insider Witnesses’ Assessments at the International Criminal Court

In: International Criminal Law Review
Gabriele Chlevickaite Analysis Assistant, icc, The Hague, The Netherlands,

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Barbora Hola Assistant Professor, Department of Criminal Law and Criminology, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands,

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Insider witnesses play an indispensable role in many international criminal cases. Despite often being essential for linkage evidence, the use of insider witnesses comes with a set of special concerns regarding their credibility, in turn casting doubt on the reliability of their evidence. This explorative empirical study aims to fill the gap in the scholarship and presents an analysis of credibility and reliability assessments of insider witnesses at the International Criminal Court (icc). It critically evaluates the use of such testimony to see if, how, and which factors relating to credibility and reliability affect the probative value of the evidence provided. The findings indicate that the icc judges put a lot of emphasis on factors such as consistency or detail of testimonies, while factors such as potential bias or questionable motivation of the witness surprisingly do not figure as prominently in ascribing probative value to evidence.

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